Friday, July 24, 2009

On Swine Flu

I'm sure most of you will follow the flaming, chaotic bandwagon that is Pandemic Influenza with at least some degree of interest. It seems unfortunate that we are incapable of delaing with such medical stories with any degree of perspective.

It's flu.

I think one of the problems is that most people have never seen, or indeed had, flu. Most people think the common cold id the flu, and so when they get flu, think they're dying.

Yes, there's more of it about, so there are more cases of the complications associated with flu.

It's still flu. A relatively mild, probably quite infectious, viral illness.

And now every bugger with a fever and a cough is being told they have the flu.

I share the slightly anxious feeling some of my medical colleagues have toward the shotgun prescription of tamiflu. And the shotgun diagnosis.

9 million hits per hour on a swine flu advice line. I don't realy understand this. The advice is simple, and well publicised. Go home, stay there, drink plenty of fluids and sweat it out.

Some people aren't happy with this advice apparently. I'm not quite sure what they want. An immediate cure perhaps?


And why are we getting our knickers in a twist abou tamiflu, a drug that, at best, seems to reduce symptom duration by 24 hours, out of a 2 week run.

Why bother?

It's flu. Yes, some people die, but rarely healthy people, and there's not an enormous amount we can do.

A few thousand people die from flu, and everyone wants a mask; AIDS is rampant, but no-one wants to wear a condom.


Nurse Sandra May said...

Here here!

Tracey said...

Well said!

Anonymous said...

I agree!

Anonymous said...

what are your views on the shotgun swine flu vaccine?!

DrShroom said...

shotgun anything is potentially risky, but i would have vaccine, if only to prevent me infecting others