Thursday, April 30, 2009

It's Here

WarriorsImage by sarihuella via Flickr

It's been fascinating to track the spread of swine flu. On the one hand, you have the hysterical alarmists and on the other, those who insist it's nothing to worry about and unlikely most people will come in contact with the disease or be in danger. I tend to side with the latter, mostly because I know the former are providing quite the windfall for the makers of Tamiflu.

Except....if one happens to spend 12 hours a week in close contact with recent arrivals from Mexico who live, work, and visit with other even more recently arrived friends and family from Mexico. Or, say, if one happens to have an autoimmune disease, making it harder to fight off invading microbes.

Of course it was only a matter of time until the disease made it to Portland. Our first probable case was reported today and I'm sure others will follow soon. I've asked all my students to wash their hands before coming into the classroom. We've gone thorough most of a big bottle of hand sanitizer this week and the students are alert to the slightest sneeze or sniffle. I sent one kid home who looked awful, and I'm a little worried about another who was sick two days last week, then came to class on Thursday and apparently had a relapse over the weekend. I'm hoping he's better soon and that no one picked up anything late last week. I'm having my kids wash their hands frequently--my own are raw from regular scrubbing. I'm upping my Vitamin D and following other suggestions from Dr Mercola, and other than that, just hoping for the best.

Stay healthy, everyone!


Tammy said...

If you email me mommybird AT verizon DOT net, our naturopath sent out suggestions yesterday, I'll send you what she sent.

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

I think we should be cautious about this one. We are due for a pandemic, as there are about 3 per century and the last one was in 1968.

At the same time, influenza variations come in waves. Usually the first encounter is like this one--this flu is now able to spread from person to person, but not very efficiently. As it infects human hosts, however, the notoriously mistake-ridden way it chops and packages RNA into new protein coats (new little viruses) means that it will almost certainly pick up more of the human genome. And it is very possible that this will make it more efficient at spreading and at killing the hosts (us). So if this peters out now, it may well be back, and much more virulent next winter or the following year.

Magpie Ima said...

Elisheva--I keep hearing that next flu season is really what we need to worry about. I imagine there will be a vaccine by then but I'd be wary of using it. I read that our last swine flu "epidemic" had more deaths due to the vaccine than the illness. Scary stuff. My big concern is that I worry that I might be carrying germs around. I'm keeping away from my grandmother (and her assisted living facility) as well as my friend's new baby.