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>
Diannek:
Since this is a "new" virus, is there a legitimate possibility it was manufactured in a lab?
Dr. Enoch Choi:
It is as much a threat in that it's a novel virus that noone in the world has ever been exposed to before, and we don't know how it will act.  It is less of a threat in that we haven't seen the deaths that we saw in Mexico, that is to say, it's less virulent -- causing less severe disease than we first expected
Dr. Enoch Choi:
Noone knows where it came from, but i figure that if you wanted to hurt a lot of people, you'd spread it from many different places at once, and design a virus that hurt folks more
jsbadger:
I asked this one the other day and it was not addressed, but seeing as there are Canadian pigs who have contracted H1N1 from their owner, I will ask again... Do people who work directly with livestock at home or at fairs need to take extra precautions being around pigs?
Dr. Enoch Choi:
sorry to miss you question last wedn.  we had hundreds of questions then.  Currently, people are catching this from other people.  Sick feverish people should stay home for 7 days and until symptoms are gone, so yeah, they shouldn't be taking care of their livestock
Dr. Enoch Choi:
The question is whether or not you spread it to your livestock in the days before you get symptoms (the prodrome) and that's a tough question
Dr. Enoch Choi:
If you practice good hygiene, I think that's as much as you can do
Ledebs:
If they are in the devoping stages of an innoculation now, how will it help then if the Swine Flu mutates in the fall? They can't predict what will be in the mutated virus?
Dr. Enoch Choi:
Hopefully the vaccine will have targeted parts of the virus that are carried forward to any mutations.  That's a hope.
Dr. Enoch Choi:
Predicting what goes into a vaccine is the job of an international panel of experts, who are likely to weigh in on how this new vaccine is developed
Dr. Enoch Choi:
They get it right some years and some years less so
Dr. Enoch Choi:
for seasonal influenza
jsbadger:
actually the question is can I get it from the pigs?
Dr. Enoch Choi:
oh, i thought you were talking about the canadian pigs that got it from a human.  There is suspicion that a human caught this from a pig but that's not confirmed.  If you practice good hygiene, that will help.  In the limited cases of H1N1 before this epidemic, every case was from someone who touched or came within 6 feet of an infected pig.
Dr. Enoch Choi:
Those prior cases were not of a swine flu that could infect human to human
jsbadger:
The number of deaths supected from the swine flu was in the hundreds last week and now it is much lower...is this because the tests on those other victims came back negative for H1N1?  It would appear that many of the deaths originally blamed on the swine flu were not swine flu at all.
Dr. Enoch Choi:
yes, "suspected" means that you match fever>100 and symptoms.  "Probable" means that your swab came back "Influenza A untypeable" meaning that it didn't match any known past isolates.  As of yesterday, the CDC is considering these the same as "confirmed" cases.  "Confirmed" means that a PCR test has found it to be H1N1 type
semien1260:
Should we be more concerned about traveling in crowds on buses, trains, etc.?
Dr. Enoch Choi:
Unlike the vice president's gaffe last week in saying not to take planes or subways, the CDC is not recommending against public transportation.  Good hygiene is essential though.  I'd stay away from coughing and sneezing folks
rosslynnie:
Can you catch swine flu twice, or will you develop immunity to it?
Dr. Enoch Choi:
If the virus mutates, it is possible to get the new mutated H1N1 influenza if you've had it before
fvf147:
Why won't they release the info on the underlying health problems of the 33 year old woman in TX?
Dr. Enoch Choi:
once you release enough individually identifying information about a person, they could possibly be identified, compromising their right to privacy under HIPAA
Dr. Enoch Choi:
more details could identify her since we already know age, gender and place
sk123:
Are other animals at risk? Should I be worried that my dogs might catch it from people or other dogs?
Dr. Enoch Choi:
i haven't heard of dogs catching H1N1.  I haven't read of dogs passing this around
Dr. Enoch Choi:
I'll go check on my yorkie...   nope, she doesn't have a fever or cough.
Dr. Enoch Choi:
at least she's ok...
Dr. Enoch Choi:
;)
jsbadger:
What kind of supplements do you recommend for people who want to boost their immune systems before the Fall flu season?  ie. echinacea, Airborne, EmergenC, multivitamins, etc
Dr. Enoch Choi:
no supplements are studied using randomized controlled double blind methods to show benefit.  In fact, more than 3 grams of vitamin C a day has shown to increase risk of kidney stones, make sure you drink plenty of water if you'd a vitamin C-a-holic
mamafg:
I was wondering about the accuracy of the stats on the cdc link you gave.   It says that Maine has 1 case, but the Maine CDC is saying 7 confirmed cases.  What is the reason for the discrepancy, and are other states in this same situation?