What Happened to the Flu?

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4. The 1918 pandemic attached and killed mainly young, healthy, people, the same victim profile as this flu strain. Seasonal flu, however, tends to attach the elderly, the very young and those with compromised immune systems.

5. The present method for developing a flu vaccine is 60-70 years old.

6. Tamiflu was affective in relieving flu symptoms in only 10% of seasonal flu victims last year. A good reason NOT to run to the doctor and get a stockpile now. It may not work at all when the next wave comes.

I heard an interesting conversation on the news last night. They were discussing the difference in the values of 1918 and now and how that would impact a pandemic. They explained how in 1918 everyone pulled together and cared for each other. They planted gardens and shared their harvests. They took care of their neighbors. The commentators wondered if this time we would see civil unrest, rioting and looting like we did after Katrina. I hope not.

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6 Responses to “What Happened to the Flu?”

  1. If people just make simple preparations, then we can avoid civil unrest. Unfortunately, today we are conditioned for instant gratification. So because the streets are not lined with bodies right now, not enough of the population is heeding the warning that nature and history are providing us.

  2. stacie says:

    So i tried to find the story about the woman who died in Texas on CNN’s site or a texas newspaper site and there was nothing about it. Also, why would young healthy people die from it? Makes no sense if their immune systems are good. Well, I ordered some masks and just hope and pray I dont get it

  3. Jeanette W says:

    Saturday, when the confirmed death count in Mexico was at 19, the breakdown in ages of their deaths were one each at age 9, 12, and 13; twelve dead between the ages of 20 and 40; and four dead over the age of 60. The current label for the phenomenon that killed those who were strong and healthy in the 1918 flu epidemic is “cytokine storm”. This phenomenon also apparently happens in other disease settings. Here is a link for a discussion of that phenomenon:

    http://www.fluwikie.com/pmwiki.php?n=Science.PrimerCytokineStorm

    Be sure to check the other links in this article. The one by Michael Osterholm is very instructive.

    If this virus were to remain responsive to Tamiflu, I personally think it would be a good idea if doctors could pre-prescribe it for any patients who wished to buy it out of pocket. Some would say that that would favor “the rich”, but in actuality it would add to what we will have left of the ‘stockpile’ and make it so that many more could get better faster. An article to highlight this was on line earlier today.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/08599189563800

    Concerned medical professionals have been worried that the H5N1 virus would cause this same response in young adults if it were to begin to pass easily from person to person, but it has not YET done that. Actually, I read last week also that an exercise of some type was being run in Southern California in April–they were testing samples, I guess, to practice for H5N1 when this particular H1N1 virus showed up. That is how Mexico realized that some of their sick citizens did not have a seasonal flu, but H1N1 instead. So it looks like we have 12 years of scrutiny by highly caring and concerned medical professionals over H5N1 to thank for warning the world about the H1N1 outbreak. Not all medical professionals have agreed with those concerned about H5N1 (there are politics in medicine also).

    I am convinced that this man’s life was saved by the Tamiflu. Tamiflu is an anti-viral. Anti-viral medicines keep the virus from replicating in a person’s body. I wonder how many people who are saying that their bout with the flu was no big deal have been taking an anti-viral. You wouldn’t necessarily even go to the hospital if you were taking Tamiflu or its equivalent. If the virus mutates so that it does not respond to the anti-viral medicines, then I think their will be more deaths.

  4. Holly says:

    so if the 1918 flu killed mainly young, healthy people, is there anything I can do now to help my family? I get a flu shot every year because I work with the elderly, but my kids do not…

  5. Judith says:

    Is Tamiflu by prescription only? Is there an over the counter, anti-viral drug?

  6. Jeanette W says:

    Continue to get the seasonal flu shot and also arrange for your children to get the seasonal flu shot. At least that way if they become ill with what looks like the flu, doctors will suspect a different virus and maybe take care of your needs more quickly. Follow the steps Carolyn has been outlining so that you can at least quarantine your children. If you have the supplies available for their care, then it would probably be easier to arrange for someone else to quarantine your children for you if you have to work during an outbreak. Ask your workplace if they have a good supply of N95 face masks, gloves, etc., essentially the supplies needed to protect you at work.

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