Tami Griffith: Swine flu Q&A with Granby Medical Center
May 24, 2009
What is Swine Flu?Is acupuncture effective?Do I really need a Tetanus Shot?These questions and others may be drifting through your mind …If so, Granby Medical Center is here to help.Welcome to our new column: Health RoundupThis is where we will tackle all your health care questions and more.GMC has been a trusted and solid source for medical care in Grand County for over 20 years. This column will be another way to further extend our services to you.In todays society, people are bombarded with health information from a variety of sources- media/internet/friends. How can you decide fact from fiction?The goal of this column is to help with this process by presenting hard facts on a variety of issues.In health care today, we practice evidence based medicine. This term is used when providers evaluate scientific research that has been carried out in areas such as clinical studies. The results of these studies help providers determine the most effective treatment plan for our patients. These studies also allow health care providers the ability to look at the risks and benefits of treatment regimens. It is the goal of Health Roundup to provide medical information to you the community based on your health care concerns.To begin our health care column I would like to address a topic that is causing international attention: Swine flu.What is Swine flu?Swine flu is a respiratory illness that originated in pigs and is capable of infecting humans. Recently, the CDC has determined that this flu which has recently been recorded worldwide is actually a combination of two genes from the swine flu, one gene from the avian flu, and one gene from the human flu. Thus the name: H1N1.What are the symptoms of H1N1?Basically the same symptoms as the human flu: fever, body aches, cough, sneezing, runny nose, along with occasional vomiting and diarrheaHow is H1N1 contracted?This is a virus that can be transmitted from person-person via respiratory droplets such as from exposure to an infected individuals cough or sneeze.You can not contract the flu from eating pork.How can I protect my family?The number one way is good hand washing – use friction with rubbing your hands together with soap for at least 15 seconds. Also, to prevent the spread of infection, use Kleenex and cover your mouth or nose when sneezing or coughing.Is H1N1 deadly?Most people fully recover from this virus. The greatest concern is for individuals with chronic diseases such as asthma, Diabetes, heart disease. The elderly and pregnant women have some concern also.What should I do if I develop these symptoms?Contact your primary care provider and be evaluated. If the need is determined, then you can be tested for the Influenza A virus.If you test positive, your provider may decide to treat you with one of the anti-viral medications. Tamiflu and Relenza have both proven effective in reducing the symptoms of this virus. Ideally, this medication should be started within 48 hrs. of developing symptoms.Hopefully this information will help alleviate some of the Hysteria associated with this disease.Please e-mail your medical questions to: Tamigriffith@centura.org. Your questions and the answers will be discussed in upcoming columns.