Health Chats
Swine Flu: A Cause for Panic? (Part 2)
Wednesday May 06, 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 from Palo Alto Medical Foundation Urgent Care 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; 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> <br><br> <img src="http://www.medhelp.org/images/email/arrow.jpg">&nbsp;&nbsp; Read the chat transcript from Dr. Enoch Choi's first <a href="http://www.medhelp.org/health_chats/archive/17">Swine Flu Health Chat</a> on April 29, 2009. <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/Swine-Flu-Update/show/1870" 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/Swine-Flu-Update/show/1870">Swine Flu Update</a> </div> </div>
Med Help:
Hello Everyone. Welcome to today's Swine Flu Health Chat with Dr. Enoch Choi. We'll be starting in a little over half an hour, but feel free to start submitting your questions now.
Med Help:
Dr. Choi is running a few minutes late, but we'll be getting started shortly, so keep those questions coming.
Dr. Enoch Choi:
Sorry, had to reboot my router
Med Help:
Welcome, Dr. Choi. Glad you could make it!
fvf147:
Do you have any new news on why H1N1 was affecting the young adult population so severely in Mexico? You had mentioned ARDS? Why did we not see that in the US or do you think we still might?  
Dr. Enoch Choi:
We have not seen ARDS in US cases
Dr. Enoch Choi:
The 2 deaths have been in chronically ill folks
Dr. Enoch Choi:
it's possible if the virus mutates that it could cause more serious disease but currently, it hasn't
fvf147:
How confident are you that they can make a vaccine for this Fall's flu season, that is safe for the public to take and not be another 1976 fiasco?  I personally don't want them to put it in with the regular flu vaccine, I want the option to take it or not.  
Dr. Enoch Choi:
New technologies funded by last administration's efforts in response to Avian Influenza have cut the development time down to just months.  I believe that they may have a vaccine ready by september.  The 1976 fiasco caused a terrible number of guillane barre deaths, i expect since the technology is better, i'd hope not for a repeat
fvf147:
Why has the Media suddenly gone from 24/7 coverage to hardly anything?  I understand not wanting to panic people but you can hardly get a decent update now.
Dr. Enoch Choi:
follow http://www.twitter.com/cdcemergency and the cdc's pages for updates
Dr. Enoch Choi:
my local santa clara public health department has been good as well: http://www.twitter.com/sccgov
Dr. Enoch Choi:
the Media goes to the next hot topic.  until more serious illness, we won't hear much about H1N1
ChitChatNine:
Dr. Choi, I read this morning that a 33 year old woman from TX died and had Swine Flu. They said she had an underlying health condition.  Do you know what she had that compromised her ability to fight the Swine Flu?
Dr. Enoch Choi:
They haven't reported, but I'd suspect she'd have some chronic respiratory illness.  that's conjecture on my part
rosslynnie:
The panic surrounding swine flu is easing down somewhat now. What are the chances of it returning, with a "vengeance" as the authorities say, in the winter? Will there be more cause for worry then?
Dr. Enoch Choi:
Early waves of the 1918 flu pandemic were mild.  Mutation from this current mild form is very possible
Dr. Enoch Choi:
That's why they're preparing a vaccine, in hopes that it would allow us to be ready for a possible worsening
Geari:
Should I get another flu shot because I have COPD and get sick really easily?
Dr. Enoch Choi:
another flu shot is unneccessary.  one shot is enough from last season's influenza vaccine.  if you were a infant, having only received their first ever shot, they do require a booster, but not adults.  The seasonal influenza vaccine does not protect against H1N1
Chamberlain3:
Don't you think panic makes the body more possible in getting sick from this and other illness?
Dr. Enoch Choi:
Anxiety and stress do decrease your ability to fight this and other infections.  Increased steroid repsonse decreases your body's ability to notice early infection
jill990:
What's the latest update?
Dr. Enoch Choi:
As of 2 hours ago, CDC reports 642 cases and 2 deaths over 41 states, almost every state having a confirmed case: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/
Dr. Enoch Choi:
As the severity of the current H1N1 illness has been found to be similar to seasonal influenza, social distancing techniques such as school closure have ceased as of today.
Dr. Enoch Choi:
Instead, feverish sick individuals are encouraged to stay home for 7 days and until all symptoms are gone
Dr. Enoch Choi:
Even with this US easing of restrictions, you hear of international panic, with Japan quarantine-ing a plane full of American passengers yesterday.
Dr. Enoch Choi:
And across asia, temperature scanners are being used to identify those with fever entering the countries by plane / train, and also in daycares & schools
Dr. Enoch Choi:
In the US, these measures are thought not to be cost effective
Dr. Enoch Choi:
What's most important is general hygiene: # Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
# Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
# Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
jsbadger:
So it appears the hype has died down and this flu is not considered as much of a threat as first suspected...do you agree?