Health Chats
Swine Flu: A Cause for Panic?
Wednesday Apr 29, 2009, 01:00PM - 02:00PM (EST)
Enoch Choi, MDBlank
Palo Alto Medical Foundation
Urgent Care, Palo Alto, CA
Do you have swine flu? Dr. Enoch Choi, MD, an Urgent Care provider in the San Francisco Peninsula, will help answer questions on how to tell swine flu from a cold, and from seasonal influenza. Swine flu has not yet been proven to be a serious enough virus to declare this to be a pandemic, but nations around the globe are discouraging travel to USA and Mexico. Just how dangerous is this virus? How can you protect yourself? How can you stay healthy? Come ask these questions and more from a physician on the front lines, treating folks coming back from Mexico with upper respiratory illnesses that match the CDC's protocols for treating suspected swine flu patients.<br><br> <img src="http://www.medhelp.org/images/email/arrow.jpg">&nbsp;&nbsp; Missed Dr. Choi's first chat? Due to the demand, we have scheduled a second <a href="http://www.medhelp.org/health_chats/register/18">Swine Flu Health Chat</a> <img src="http://www.medhelp.org/images/email/arrow.jpg">&nbsp;&nbsp; Visit the <a href="http://www.medhelp.org/forums/Swine-Flu/show/356">Swine Flu community</a> to continue the discussion and exchange information about swine flu. <img src="http://www.medhelp.org/images/email/arrow.jpg">&nbsp;&nbsp; Learn more about Swine Flu from Dr. Enoch Choi's blog post <a href="http://www.medhelp.org/user_journals/show/83652">Do I have Swine Flu?</a> <div style="margin: 10px; float: none; height: 85px; border: 1px solid #E5E5E5; padding:10px 25px;"> <div style="background: transparent url('http://video.nbcuni.com/healthology/thumb/ee8a6d86032c7e85009980d59151bee7_large.jpg') no-repeat scroll 9px 10px; float: left; padding-right: 25px;"> <a href="/health_videos/Dr-Nancy-Snyderman-Talks-About-Swine-Flu/show/1833" style="color:#006CC8; text-decoration:none;"><img src="http://www.medhelp.org/RoR/images/health_videos/video_overlay.gif?1" alt="Video_overlay" style="height:69px; width:94px; border: 0 none;"/></a></div> <div style='padding-top:23px;font-size:14px;'> <a href="/health_videos/Dr-Nancy-Snyderman-Talks-About-Swine-Flu/show/1833">Dr. Nancy Snyderman Talks About Swine Flu</a> </div> </div>
Med Help:
Hi Everyone! Welcome to the MedHelp Swine Flu Health Chat with Dr. Enoch Choi. We'll be starting in 20 minutes or so, but feel free to submit your questions now.
Dr. Enoch Choi:
Would you advise against air travel to lessen the potential contact and close proximity to infected people?
The CDC has issued a travel advisory against non-essential travel to Mexico.   http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/
Dr. Enoch Choi:
Are there natural foods and supplements that could help lessen the likelihood of obtaining the flu? Things like garlic, oil of oregano, echinacea? Additionally, what type of foods could you give to young children to boost their immune systems?
Dr. Enoch Choi:
No foods or supplements have been proven to decrease likeliness of getting the flu.  only social distancing.
smartwater:
How do you distinguish between cold and swine flu? Does there have to be the condition that you should have travelled to Mexico for the diagnosis?
Dr. Enoch Choi:
from http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/swineflu_you.htm
Dr. Enoch Choi:
similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever or 100 degrees or more, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.
Dr. Enoch Choi:
you or someone you've had close contact with must have travelled to Mexico or an adjoining state in the USA.  This definition is subject to change as the epidemic continues.
fvf147:
Dr Choi, If we become overrun with cases are there enough of the antivirals for every man woman and child?
Dr. Enoch Choi:
5 Million doses have been released from the national stockpile.  That is enough for the current needs, our first responders and those at risk.  No, there is not enough for every one, and not everyone has to take it.  Only those found to be a probable or suspect case.
mero:
How does it infect humans (mode of transmission of the virus) ?
Dr. Enoch Choi:
from http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/swineflu_you.htm    "Spread of this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is thought to be happening in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose."  That's why it's a good idea for those who are coughing and sneezing to cover with their elbow or a mask.  If you want to remind yourself not to touch our mouth, eyes & nose, you could wear a mask yourself.
DrDod:
Is it worth spending the money now, and buying a personal course of Tamiflu to keep 'in stock'?
Dr. Enoch Choi:
no, it's unethical to use it when someone more needy should get it.  you wouldn't know when to take it anyways.
Suzanne39:
What is the treatment for swine flu currently?
Dr. Enoch Choi:
if in the first 48 hours of symptoms Tamiflu or relenza.  if complications, then treat the complications e.g. pneumonia requires antibiotics
Suzanne39:
How long does swine flu last?
Dr. Enoch Choi:
it's been variable.  all cases in the USA have been mild and recovered without treatment except for the death of the <2 year old mexican citizen hospitalized in Houston,. TX who'd travelled to Brownsville recently.  We can't say, since the epidemic is so early
TBOO990:
what are the best mask to get for this swine flu and do you know where is the best place in Denver, Co to get them for adults and a child-age 3?  Or where best to get them online?
Dr. Enoch Choi:
A properly fit-tested N95 mask is the best.  Dispose of when moist.  Available for adults, i haven't seen them for children.  can't say where to get them online, try a surgical supply store.
melissw:
Can Tamiflu actually help with swine flu? How?
Dr. Enoch Choi:
tamiflu or relenza is believed to stop the replication of the virus and limiting further spread in your body.  that's why it has to be taken in the 1st 48 hours
semien1260:
Should I refrain from traveling to Mexico for my scheduled two month stay in June and July?
Dr. Enoch Choi:
Check http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/  before your trip.  Currently there is a travel advisory against non-essential travel to Mexico.  Personally, I wouldn't go.
kirstn:
I've seen different numbers for the threshold of the fever temperature (as worrysome).  Some guidelines say over 100, others say over 102.  Which is more appropriate?  
Rocker96:
Hi Dr Choi, I would like to know if Lysol spray would help to kill the swine virus on contact, and in the air.
Dr. Enoch Choi:
100 degrees or higher
Dr. Enoch Choi:
LYSOL® Disinfectant Spray (EPA Reg No 777-72) and Professional LYSOL® Disinfectant Spray (EPA Reg No 777-72-625) is EPA registered and effective against: Influenza A2 and B, but to my understanding hasn't been tested against H1N1 but I'd expect it to help http://www.lysol.com/corporate/frequently-asked-questions/
mamaluv430:
My daughter has an immune deficiency. She catches things easily. She is 26. She had plans to vacation in Playa del Carmen in July. Should she cancel?
Dr. Enoch Choi:
Check http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/  before your trip.  Currently there is a travel advisory against non-essential travel to Mexico.  Personally, I wouldn't go, especially since your daughter is at increased risk.
mamaluv430:
The outbreak seems to be in Mexico City. Is there any problem traveling to the Yucatan Penninsula where there are no reported cases?
Dr. Enoch Choi:
Check http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/  before your trip.  Currently there is a travel advisory against non-essential travel to Mexico.  Personally, I wouldn't go anywhere in Mexico.  I'd expect it to have spread widely since I understand it's also in the coastal resorts, which is where many USA cases have been linked to.