Q&A: no, really, the swine flu

Sorry for getting this up late. I had it mostly written but then got distracted writing a song for next year's American Idol. If anyone can come up with a rhyme for "made it through the storm," I'll give you cowriter credit and 5% of the royalties.

We talked about the swine flu (or H1N1 or whatever the actual name is) a few weeks ago, and I kind of thought the fear was going to die down. But over the past few days I've gotten a couple of emails that basically said, "Aren't you terrified, living in NYC?" or "I was chill before, but there's one case in my town now and I'm finding that I'm lying awake at night worrying about it."

The short answer is, yes I'm terrified living in NYC. But not of the swine flu. There's so much else for me to be scared of, from being run over by a taxi to not being able to pay my rent to having a child get sick from possible mold in the walls of my crumbling apartment to having the tsunami we're due for hit to another terrorist attack to having the entire infrastructure collapse because of the recession and having riots in the streets to never finding the love of my life and living in noble loneliness for the rest of my days. Honestly, swine flu seems pretty tame in comparison.

(Hey, after I wrote that paragraph, they announced on the news that the first public elementary school in Manhattan is being closed today. Maybe this is going to be more extensive than I thought?)

OTOH, I don't blame anyone who's scared of it. Especially if you live in a place in which you have what I'd consider the "normal" set of worries. (Meaning not terrorism and taxis and other anomalous events.) It could stay at the level it's at, or something really weird could happen and it could get far more dangerous.

It's the unpredictability of it that makes it scary. If you knew what the path was going to be, or how serious it was going to be, you could stop worrying so much. If we knew H1N1 was going to be less lethal than the regular flu (100 deaths a day!) we could all just ride it out. But we don't know.

As a parent, it's your job to worry. We're hard-wired for it. Not worrying meant a dingo would have stolen your baby. And not worrying now means any number of things could happen to your child. The trick is to try to keep it in perspective so you don't become consumed with it. (If you find that you're having repetitive thoughts that are serious and make you feel out of control, tell your doctor immediately. If you find you're having repetitive thoughts that are annoying you but don't feel like a crisis, up your magnesium supplementation, because lack of magnesium causes anxiety and that repetitive thought/insomnia loop.)

So take the precautions you should take (wash your hands; eat, sleep, and exercise well; call your doctor if you develop flu symptoms). And then just do the best you can do to stay relaxed but alert.


(I was at the burrito store the other day waiting for my order, and readin one of the Spanish-language newspapers (and I didn't bother to note
which one, which is unfortunate because I can't find the article again
online to cite) that in Mexico City, 98% of the relatives of those who
died from H1N1–the people who had been living closely with them during
the incubation period–did NOT develop any symptoms of flu. Which I
thought was really strange. And makes me wonder even more what's going
to happen with this disease.)

0 thoughts on “Q&A: no, really, the swine flu”

  1. I am not worried, despite living in an area with some cases, mostly because it’s still riskier to take my kids to school every day. Perhaps I should be more worried, but my approach is to try to see everything as a whole, meaning you still risk death or serious injury when you get in a car, cross the street, fly somewhere, etc. And to be honest, the recent outbreak in my area of measles (I live in DC) had me much more worried than swine flu, as do other outbreaks of diseases where vaccines are available and widespread. FWIW, my kid’s ped told me that the fear of measles was much more appropriate than the fear of H1N1.

  2. Here’s my stab at lyrics: “I’m working to find a new norm”As for H1N1, I’m still trying to be aware of the illness, but mostly I am saving my worry for next fall. If it resurges at the start of the flu season, then I will worry. For now, it’s still just a background concern to me, as are all those other things you list (living in the DC area, I have a similar list as NYC concerns).
    OT: DC Area get together is this Saturday! If you want to come, please come by my blog and let me know so I know how many people and who to look for. You can also weigh in on where and a time.

  3. still not worried, even though EVERY SCHOOL AROUND US HAS CLOSED!!! HA!! seriously, the elementary and middle school we are zoned for, the high school where it all started, all closed. this is due to panic and fear, and not due to a real threat that this form of the flu is any more deadly (so far, it’s less so) than the regular flu. people here are going crazy. they are keeping their kids out of school over fear and not much else. or, their kids are showing symptoms of flu and they are parading them in front of tv cameras. it’s ridiculous. people are clogging up er’s and preventing folks who are actually sick from getting care.and most of the cases here that are “suspected” h1n1 come back to NOT be h1n1. either a cold or the regular flu.
    i’ve had an awful cold for over a week. i’ve taken my temp about 6,000 times thinking i finally succumbed to this stupid flu already. no temp.
    yesterday both kids showed same symptoms of cold- called the ped since i am a mama and of course i’m thinking, if it is this dumb flu maybe the ped wants to know? guess what? since the kids have no temp they are considered not an emergency. ok, no problem. when the ped called me back he said “lets pretend that this is the swine flu. we’d treat it like the regular flu, which, unless you show acute symptoms (spike a fever, problems breathing) i’d still tell you to stay home and ride it out.” which, i understand and completely agree with.
    he also told me that there is an awful cold going around right now as well. which he thinks is what we have. treat accordingly.
    i’m just not worried about this. we’re doing what we can to stay healthy, and the city is doing what it can, the place i work for is doing the same, following DOH guidelines, etc. what more can we do? i can’t let my life be controlled by fear of something that in the scheme of things is really not so scary.

  4. I’m not all that worried, either. Last week, I was sort of worried–my husband had some sort of flu (absolutely flattened him for 2-3 days) which very well might have been H1N1, but it never reached head-to-the-ER levels, it was over quickly, and the babe and I managed to dodge it.For me, it’s gotten pushed to the category of low-level background NYC worries that I can’t waste time doing focused worrying about or I’ll go crazy–terrorist attack, mold in walls, total financial collapse, etc. One foot in front of the other, one day at a time, worry about what to make for dinner.

  5. Here in Orlando, we have tourists from all over. And they always bring their germs with them. We have even been to Disney World several times in the past month (season passes). We just did what we always do. Wash hands, wash hands, lots of disinfecting wipes. Until the CDC tells me to stay home and lock the doors, I’m going to enjoy my life.Frankly, I’m more worried that the stupid recession will cost more jobs in our local economy. And that is bad for everybody.

  6. I won’t worry about this until/unless there are enough actual, very severe cases in my area. Not sure where the number that affects my peace of my mind is, but I know that we aren’t anywhere near it yet. Like you, too many more immediate concerns. This is one of those things where we know too much (how many cases where) yet not enough (will it become more severe, more widespread, etc.).

  7. Layman disclaimer!!!!!! I am a history buff and read about the 1918 swine flu awhile ago.So, flu is a winter virus because it is designed like a bad M&M and the candy shell works best when it’s cold. When it gets warm outside the virus isn’t as sturdy and it is less of a threat.
    The 1918 flu {the biggest, scariest flu outbreak in relatively-recent history} began as a weak late-spring flu that really didn’t do much. Sound familiar? It was the next fall that it came around and was destructive.
    I’m not scared now. If it swings around again in Novemeber I will be.
    Layman disclaimer close.

  8. Man, caramama totally took my idea–I was going to suggest “[something something] not the norm.” I will gracefully split the 5% with her.As for H1N1, I’m not worrying. I have lots of other things on my plate to worry about, I guess it’s on a back burner for now.

  9. For the song, I have “Forgot to fill out the form”For the flu, I’m totally more worried about: the monkey making it through high school and becoming the grown up that he hasn’t figured out yet that he (secretly) wants to be; weekend to-do lists that are divided up into must-haves and may-haves; whether El’s droopiness at pick up yesterday is a stealthy ear infection, and what if we don’t realize she has a real one until we’re halfway through our flight from Orlando to Albany?; work malarkey; and if this rain will ever stop.

  10. I am actually pretty terrified about the swine flu. Perhaps it’s because I’m 19 weeks pregnant, and I’ve been reading several articles that have said that pregnant women are at a much greater risk of complications. In addition, there have been 20 pregnant individuals diagnosed with swine flu thus far, and five of them have had serious complications (ventilation, intensive care stays…) One has even died (and only had minor pre-existing health issues). And, to top it off, I am in Illinois which has the largest number of cases. In my town alone, there have been 18 cases, some of whom live very close to me.The only thing I can do is be hyper vigilant. I know that if I have any kind of fever, I will immediately take Tamiflu as a precautionary measure. The CDC recently recommended that if pregnant women have any of the flu symptoms, to take it, as it usually takes a few days to get the confirmation of swine flu back (and by that point it could be too late). I am also VERY concerned about the fall, especially b/c my due date is in mid-Oct. and I imagine my immune system will not instantaneously go back to normal post-birth.
    Does anyone know how long one’s immune system remains compromised in the postpartum period?
    I also have two young children (one is five, the other is 21 months), so I fear for them as well.

  11. Dang it, post didn’t go through.”Strength and courage takes all forms.”
    And ditto what Cobblestone said.

  12. Not worried about H1N1… yet. As worries go, I’m honestly much more worried that a member of my family will be injured or killed in a car accident, or that my child will drown in a body of water… because right now, the odds of those occurrences are a lot more statistically likely, and because I personally know of multiple families who have been shattered by those terrible, tragic, and everyday events. That said, I still drive nearly every day and take my son swimming twice a week.And we have local cases of H1N1 right here in the middle of nowhere. A friend of a friend’s son here in our podunk town made the papers recently when he caught the H1N1 virus, and stayed home from school for a week. They did not close his school, BTW. Now everyone around him and the handful of others who contracted it (from who knows where?) are currently living happily ever after. So my gut reaction based on this tiny sample size of like 6 is that this virus is not yet worthy of a “red alert” or even an “orange alert”-sized worry. 😉 Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday…
    I do, however, support those of you (like my mom) who feel a lot of worry over this. She thinks the baby we’re expecting this fall is going to be stricken with it. What I’m supposed to do about that, I have no idea, but she gives me the impression that a “good” mom would worry more than I am worrying now. WTF, right? But that’s how worry plays out in this country. Remember Y2K? Anyway, worry all you want, or don’t, but wherever you are with it just don’t tell me what to do because you honestly don’t know, either. Cool? And if the one that comes back this fall is this extinction level event, I’ll owe you a drink!

  13. I’m a little embarrassed at how quickly my own anxiety about H1N1 calmed down as soon as the media frenzy calmed down. I like to think of myself as independent-minded and not easily influenced by shrieking news headlines, but apparently I’m not. Also, we had our own local media frenzy that frankly distracted us from nearly everything else going on in the world for a little while.Even at its worst, though, I wasn’t all THAT worried. Maybe that’s because folks around here just don’t get freaked out easily (possibly because we’re too worried about having one of the country’s highest unemployment rates). I had a horrible dry cough during the worst couple of days of it, and nobody gave me even the slightest glance. J had a mystery fever for a day and a half last week, but no other symptoms, so we didn’t even bother calling the ped (though if he’d coughed even once, we’d have been all over it).
    Like Cobblestone, I’m much more concerned about next fall than the situation right now. I just have this horrible feeling that we’ll just be beginning to dig out of the huge hole of the recession and then, even if H1N1 turns out not to be horribly deadly, the cost to the economy in terms of lost work time and productivity – when schools and factories and public venues are closed – will dig us even deeper into economic chaos. Desperate economic straits + media-fueled disease paranoia + rampant xenophobia = now THAT’s seriously scary.

  14. I am not worried about H1N1, mostly because it reminds me of midwestern snowstorm coverage. It’s going to snow, a lot! Repeat ad nauseum until you wake up to 3 inches of snow and the kids are mad they have to go to school. If the flu starts hitting young adults, like the 1918 flu, then I may feel more panic.My daughter, at 7, is having anxiety about everything right now. Thank goodness she doesn’t know about the flu or car accidents stats. Anyway – any thoughts on magnesium for someone that young? I don’t think we’ve crossed into a need for heavy duty meds, but she is starting to not want to sleep. And I like sleep.

  15. I assume you already rejected “with only dreams to keep me warm” or “with just a screen to keep me warm”? Those seem like about the right genre…I’m a little bit worried about H1N1, mainly because Mouse got a really bad case of RSV at 21 months and that makes me concerned she could be extra-susceptible to respiratory stuff. (Hasn’t really proven the case so far, but you know. Mom’s gotta worry.) Still, we live 5 minutes from UCSF hospital which is really good, and I’m just going about my business, maybe stocking up our emergency supplies a little. Interesting times, for sure.

  16. I was never very worried about H1N1 because (relatively speaking) so few people were contracting it and dying from it. The media isn’t shrieking daily about malaria or tuberculosis, but statistically speaking it’s the mosquitoes or the… um… tubercules that are going to get you. It’s much more a question of who is getting it than what they’re getting, imho.My current anxieties revolve more around selling our house and what our kids will be like as teenagers (in about ten years.) Ah, lack of control, what a joy you are.

  17. I’ve made it through the stormBy fending off the swarm
    Heartache is my art form
    Resisting pressure to conform
    I am waiting to transform
    My life (or future) is free form
    No time for the lukewarm
    No desire to perform

  18. Swine flu is a worry that is in the back of my head. Like pnuts mama we have been passing some sort of a cold/flu/allergies around here but since there is no change in temperament and only runny noses I try to keep calm about it. Though the recent death of the 16month old (not confirmed that it was swine flu when i heard the news) did make me pause and panic.I too get sucked into the media hype and so am diligently avoiding TV and radio news sources. The endless loop of the same news makes it worse. I am selectively reading online. I guess in the fall we’ll see how things go.
    Right now I worry about so many other things mostly planning out what-if scenarios in case husband or one of the kids die.. Not in the fleeting dark thoughts kind of way in the planning down to detail what to do in case that should happen. I wonder if this means I feel like life is to out of control. I don’t know what it means but the darkness of my thoughts worry me which I don’t think makes things any better. I also worry incessantly about money but then again there are very few right now who aren’t worrying about money.
    In a somewhat related note I feel like my gut instinct/ feeling is off. I am trying get gut checks every so often about things and it’s as if my gut has checked out and gone elsewhere. I am wondering if this is related to the incessant dark thoughts or is it just hidden until I actually need it.
    I guess I really don’t know where I am going with this note I just feel like I need help because things are going awry somewhere but I don’t know where and so I don’t know what help I need.

  19. Let’s see.Patient Zero up here was a pediatrician. A guy died who had Swine Flu in the area died recently (note: I think it’s difficult to say “OMG he died of Swine Flu!” because…he died of pneumonia, which is a secondary complication, and he had a chronic heart condition and wasn’t in good health to begin with, so you might as well say he died of a hangnail if he had one, too).
    Still not freaking out.
    We ended RSV and actual flu quarantine the week the Swine Flu scare was in full swing and let the girls share sippy cups with other children and play on the dirty dirty dirty floor, and it was awesome.
    All indications point to Swine Flu being, if anything, maybe as bad/contagious/fatal as the regular flu.
    If regular flu freaks you out, hey, knock yourself out. If, however, you don’t get a flu shot or take extra precautions during regular flu season and are now incredibly concerned about Swine Flu…hey, I’m not going to bug you about it, but I am totally going to give you that one-eyebrow-raised look.
    What I’ve been pretty amused by are people who don’t give the regular flu or RSV a second thought, and yet have totally freeeeeaked out about Swine Flu.
    I mean, these are the same people who gave me shit all winter about not taking the girls to social events if there were sick people present, who lectured me about how Germs Are Good For Kids and OMG, I’m totally destroying my kids’ immune system by not letting them lick public toilet seats! They looked at me funny when I washed my hands regularly and disinfected phones at work.
    …and now these same people are considering face masks and school closures and flinging hand sanitizer around like beads at Mardi Gras.

  20. @rudyinparis: Bjorn/storm–call it a slant rhyme, plus you’ve got the argument that slant rhyme can be more interesting in its decreased predictability. (I myself never hear enough about Baby Bjorns in popular music.)There, that MFA in poetry has now proved itself totally useful.

  21. Not currently worrying about H1N1.Am worrying about the economy, refinancing my house and earthquakes. We had a second mini trembler in two days here yesterday and I always feel freaked out and on edge for a while after those. I figure I’ll let the public health community worry about H1N1 for now and next fall I’ll see how worried I should actually be.

  22. @Caramama – HA! I totally capitalized “norm” in your song lyrics and turned him into the guy in the Cheers bar. So, maybe Moxie would like to include Norm, the likable alcoholic in her song.@akeeyu – I’m the mom who’s really concerned about RSV (my 6 month old got it in Jan, when he was 2 months old, despite my precautions) and the regular flu who is kinda laughing behind her hand at those who blow off RSV and are freaking about H1N1 based on media frenzy. That being said, if I were the pregnant poster above, I’d probably be kinda freaked, too. Good luck Jamie!

  23. My then 3-month old contracted regular seasonal flu this year despite his father, brother, and mother all receiving the yearly vaccine. I was still on maternity leave at the time. His brother attended limited pre-school.I am not too worried about swine flu, unless of course it mutates into a superbug or something – with those scary, menacing eyes. Flu season freaks me out a little bit every year so we vaccinate. The disease that really scares me is rotavirus as does any illness with the potential for serious, life-threatening dehydration (even influenza if fever is high enough and child refuses fluids). One bout of life-threatening dehydration is enough for this mom to handle. I’d like never to see an IV line again as long as I live, thankyouverymuch.
    I hope the flu vaccine this fall offers protection from whichever strains are circulating.

  24. If I let myself think too much about it, then I feel the edges of a genuine freakout over H1N1 beginning. So, I don’t think about it. Even though the following conditions currently apply:*I am 23 weeks pregnant
    *I have a 2 year old
    *We’re both getting over a headcold
    *We live in Queens, close enough to Elmhurst hospital that I could probably walk to the ER faster than 911 could get to my house.
    As for the rhyme…forget it. I stink at rhymes!

  25. Eh, I response is the same as when you had posted this a few weeks ago. I’m mildly concerned but not panicked at all.Despite the fact that I’m almost 30 weeks pregnant, have a 3 yr old in daycare and an immune-suppressed stepson (liver transplant).
    I’m definitely more concerned about what the fall will bring and whether this fall’s flu vaccine will offer any protection from this strain.

  26. omg, i just wanted to give a shout out to my fellow girl from queens- hi di!! you and i must be enjoying the same headcold- which, btw, i think is probably worse than any flu i’ve ever had. argh!second, i had now idea that being pregnant reduced your immunity! plus i thought your baby has your immunity when hey are born for around 6 months or so? so is that before or during pregnancy? or after?
    i read that the vax for this strain of flu is taking a while b/c the actual virus is slow-growing in the lab…i’m not even a little bit of a scientist (think sid the science kid level of understanding of science) but that worries me, a bit. i’d like to know a vax has been created and can start getting mass produced asap in time for when this strain shows up again, whenever that is.
    and finally, just fwiw, they have ruled out the h1n1 virus as what killed that poor little boy who died earlier in the week. so that, at least, should allay any fears for those of you who are worried about that aspect of the news.

  27. So, we (Miss R and I) had ‘suspected’ swine flu (probably was it, since we were in a hot spot for it and they stopped testing because nobody who had flu and was tested had anything *BUT* H1N1). Precautionary measure was to put the whole family on Tamiflu (preventive or reduced symptoms for everyone else). People in contact with me were pulled from work for a week (work from home). They did NOT close the school (Miss R had it, too).Spring flu, not so bad. Fever sucked, but the rest of the symptoms were mild, and I have asthma, so my symptoms can be bad. Tamiflu side effects suck, though. I got the vertigo, among others. Nobody else in the family got any side effects that we can tell. Lucky me. Whee… (that’s the sound I make when the world spins… I’m slow at processing meds out of system, so I’m still getting more of that than usual for me.)
    FALL, that will be a question. I will be cautious in the fall, and knowing that the form can mutate, I will get the flu shot (I usually try to, sometimes I forget). Preventive measures are valuable.
    Being smack in the midst of it, the information passing locally was very much ‘wash your hands, don’t sneeze on people, and if you’re sick don’t go to work, or out into the community’ which means we were effectively quarantined for a week (and it rained all week… AHHHHHH!)… plus ‘don’t kinda-sorta those items, do them for real’. Half-assed is right out, but nothing more than that was really required. And hey, none of my coworkers came down with it, my brother, mother, younger relatives, children, and spouse didn’t come down with it. Eh. Not terrified. Just aware. I was more worried that people would be pissed because I managed to put a wrench in a half-dozen projects at work, but mostly they were just concerned for my health (I did get a bit of teasing when I got back, though).

  28. Pregnancy doesn’t suppress your immune system. The thought that it does is a vestige of an outdated view of how the immune system works.I could speak about this at great length, but I suspect it would interest no one but me (and maybe Cloud).

  29. Brooke….go ahead. I’m interested. I always thought I was immuno-suppressed while pregnant (much like drugs do to organ recipients) to keep my body from rejecting the fetal tissue, but no? Incidentally, I was always much healthier while pregnant than when not (and I feel sickest when nursing).So, hedra, are you somewhat protected from the resurgent swine flu this fall? When my baby got flu in March, they did nasal swab to confirm flu, but testing for the specific virus was not done. I wonder now with Spring flu if perhaps he had swine flu.

  30. Yes, please, Brooke: elaborate. I thought this was true, too, and explained why, although I couldn’t take my seasonal allergy meds that year, I was fine. I am always interested in getting the facts!

  31. The thought that the immune system needs to be suppressed to keep from rejecting the fetus stems from an outdated (but not dead) belief that the immune system attacks things based on wether they are ‘foreign’ or ‘non-self.’ However, it has become pretty clear that the immune system actually responds to ‘danger’ signals, so only attacks something if it is deemed dangerous.A good example of that is Rh incompatibility. Women generally don’t have a problem with that during a first pregnancy since nothing has said that the fetus with the Rh protein is dangerous. But birth causes trauma to tissue which teaches the immune system that what it is seeing (including the Rh protein) is dangerous. So the next time this woman gets pregnant with an Rh+ fetus, her immune system recognizes it as something dangerous and tries to get rid of it.
    Polly Matzinger originally proposed this model. I heard her speak when I was an immunology grad student and was even more impressed with her in real life.

  32. Another pregnant NYC reader here, who is not worried now but plans to be if this thing ramps up in the fall.OB/GYN friend has said that flu symptoms in pregnant women advance to critical more quickly than in the non-pregnant (particularly dehydration and the associated risks to the pregnancy), and that most of her patients who contract flu strains of any type end up needing some sort of hospital care, up to ICU stays.
    I work near Grand Central so the risk of rogue taxis or terrorist attacks, or more exploding steam pipes or what have you, are higher on my list these days. Also, my daughter falling off something in the playground. Or choking. Or etc, etc. Oy.

  33. I should add that there was (and probably still is) controversy surrounding the danger model of immunity. I certainly have my own biases* which lead me to be more accepting of it.*Namely that I believe that a lot of science has been done with a sexist worldview and that the experiences of women haven’t been not enough data to disprove a theory. So a model which specifically addresses ways in which women’s bodies don’t fit into the prevailing view and comes up with a view in which they do was very appealing to me.

  34. @ first time pregnant ladies – dehydration (a very common complication of flu or stomach viruses) is nothing to mess around with while pregnant. I got some kind of stomach bug @ 24 weeks (severe vomiting), and was advised to go to the er the next morning by my wise dr. The er sucks, but he was right on – I was in triage at L&D for 13 hours trying to get my ketones back to normal and to stop the contractions. The contraction part was particularly scary because *I* didn’t feel them, though they showed up on the monitor right away. So even I didn’t know that my condition had become dangerous.

  35. I know enough people in virology, and know my own (sucky) immune function to assume that I cannot tell for sure if I am protected from swine flu later. A) if the virus mutates in such a way that my body doesn’t recognize it, I’m still at risk, and B) no way to be sure if that is even what I had, and C) my immune system loses track of immunity all the time – I’ve had my titers done for a few things, and found that my immunity fades faster than most (I’ve been reimmunized for the ENTIRE childhood set as a teen, and at 30 I had gone below margin of safety on a few… I am definitely in the camp of ‘needs re-exposure to the organism often to maintain immunity’). Granted, by fall, I’ll probably still be protected if that’s definitely positively what I had and it doesn’t mutate in such a way that my body recognizes it… too many ifs.So I’ll assume not. Not that I’ll mind if I’m wrong, either.
    @Brooke, I have seen some interesting new stuff coming out of the worldview that female bodies need to be addressed differently than male bodies. It has opened up whole new areas of study, which is really very cool. Just the new approaches to studying placental function and the complex communication between the placenta and the mom… though there are still people working on the rejection hypothesis.
    I know pregnancy messed with my immune function, but not always in bad ways. Turned my allergies off, then on, then off, then on, then off, then on… unfortunately ended up with them turned on again, but nowhere near as bad as they were before I got pregnant the first time. And totally different symptom set, too.
    Bodies are interesting.

  36. Not overly concerned about H1N1 but it is in the background of my mind. More stressed about hubby losing his job last week because his department closed. The eartquakes in CA – are we building up to ‘the big one’? My 7 year old is also very anxious lately, like a previous poster, having trouble going to sleep and worrying about ‘stuff’. Also my 2 year old keeps getting constipated and gets very upset about it. So, any type of flu concerns right now is just something to add to the list… Still, onwards and upwards eh!

  37. I can work with swine flu worries. What keeps me up at night – truly anxious – is global warming/other environmental catastrophe worries. Not exactly about how it will affect me directly, but more about the amount of suffering that is coming to the world in general. For my kids when they are bigger, and especially for their children. And in the already poor and struggling parts of the globe.I know that I should probably try to stay in the present, but it is really interfering with my sleep.

  38. Oh, this is interesting. I mentioned that I was always healthier while pregnant and specifically, it was my allergies I was thinking about. And other people mentioned allergies too. I’m not a freak!Thinking…maybe I just take better care of myself (more sleep) while pregnant. And maybe I’m just sicker while nursing because I don’t get sleep. Maybe.

  39. Brooke–Curious about your thoughts about one other issue re: pregnancy and increased flu complications that I read last night. I believe that the theory was that lung capacity is compromised in pregnancy (due to compression of the diaphram?) which can lead to more lung infections (pneumonia) and more difficulty breathing when one is stricken with the flu when pregnant. Thoughts?

  40. Ugh–I didn’t even think about the fact that I’ll have a newborn when the possible “pandemic” truly begins. How does one deal with a child very little immunity, especially b/c I can’t breastfeed and transfer any of my natural antibodies!
    And, I can only imagine that being in a chronically sleep-deprived state in the fall won’t add much to the strength of my own immune system (not to mention that I’ll have had major surgery– a c-section).

  41. storm =yawn
    I am far more concerned about the lack or rain we have had recently. It is late may and we just had a first storm. Very Unusual. water restrictions are a bitch.
    I’m also more worried about my son’s multitude of appointments with asshold doctors how tell me “you should be ready to jump off a cliff”.
    And then there’s the ant infestation in my yard…

  42. Lyrics…1) finally safe and warm
    2) feeling in good form
    3) glad I don’t live in a dorm
    Regarding the swine flu, I’m not concerned now, but if it comes back in the fall, I will be very concerned.

  43. @Jamie, your baby will still have your antibodies circulating for about 9 months after birth. Even without breastfeeding. There’s a natural dip in immune function between then and about 2-3 years old (as your IgG is used up making antibodies and there isn’t enough new IgG being made to replace it), which the extended nursing helps with (mainly by reducing transmission – IgG doesn’t get transferred, but the IgA coats the lining of the gut to reduce transmission of infection), BUT note that most people still don’t breastfeed that long, and many babies self-wean before that period ends. But the natural dip is only a concern if in your child’s case they dip ‘too far’ or if it lasts ‘too long’ (which equals Transient Hypogammaglobulinemia of Infancy, or THI – and I can even pronounce it, LOL!). Two instances of pneumonia in a year is a red flag for that. (Mr B probably had THI, but they caught it as he was outgrowing, finally, at 4 1/2 or so). So the newborn, maybe not as big a scary as you’d think (there’s also loads of misinformation about how immune function works in infancy – again, there are things they’re more prone to, but it isn’t quite the same as not having an actual immune system).Probiotics also help reduce transmission of infection (same barrier function), and if your child isn’t reactive to dairy, milk fat does, too. (Butter, in particular, has been noted to provide the same ‘coat the lining of the GI tract’ function – just like it does for calves.) Goat butter also would presumably work (mmmm, goat butter!). Buttered toast for the 9-month-plus babies?
    And even then, at 9 months, the risks in general are lower, despite the lower IgG level.
    Preemies are more a concern, or those with a history of RSV, reactive airway disease, etc. Good reason to treat reflux, too (since it increases airway reactivity).
    for the song lyrics, I’d have to hear the lead-in part to go the next step. I make up lyrics all the time (I can’t remember real lullaby lyrics, so I invent my own), but I need to catch the flow to make it work. And sometimes they’re just silly, too, which might not be what you’re looking for…

  44. “made it through the storm,to find the clear, blue morn.
    Of course, that only works if the song is positive and everything works out – thus the clear, blue morn.
    Ok, it sounded better in my head. LOL

  45. “made it through the stormthanks to online porn…”
    it goes on from there. I am not worried about the swine flu, even though as a teacher I have two students now who have had confirmed cases. Meh. We’re all going to die eventually.
    I am, like Moxie, more worried about never finding the love of my life and dying alone… or, er, living in noble loneliness, etc. I won’t be alone – the children will feel sorry for me and visit sometimes.

  46. Oh I have no insight at all into treatment of illness or their severity in pregnant women (or anyone else for that matter). I did my graduate training (before I bailed) as a bench scientist.Certainly illnesses can be more severe or have a greater risk of side effects in pregnant women. They just aren’t immune suppressed.
    I have heard (but have no idea the validity of it) that a hypothesis for why autoimmune disorders get better in most women during pregnancy (and potentially why women are more prone to them) has to do with the lack of menses which can trigger the release of danger signals. I think it’s a fascinating idea.
    Man, sometimes I miss science. Well, the thinking about it. Not the doing it so much.

  47. Also not too worried about H1N1 until flu season starts. I *think* (though I may be misinformed) the fear is that it spreads really quickly, but is on par with the common flu in terms of deadliness.As for the song…I got inspired:
    made it through the storm / there our love was born / in the early morn / made my heart feel warm / so be not sad or forlorn / cuz our love was born / through the raging storm

  48. Swine flu = not worried.But now worried about being blown up in my own synagogue. Less than a block from my house. Across the street from an NYC public school. Awesome.

  49. Ok, here are my two fears about swine flu.1. I’m 10 weeks pregnant, so I am slightly worried that I will get the flu. Not too concerned about me, but I do worry that it could effect the baby. Just a mild concern, though.
    2. My MAJOR concern is that I take my currently healthy 19mo old son to the dr for his checkup and shot, and my son contracts the swine flu from the doctor’s office. Doctor’s offices are crawling with germs, and we always have to wait for hours in the waiting room before we are called back into an exam room. Then more waiting. LOTS of opportunity for contamination. This is why my 19mo old still needs his 18mo old checkup and shot. I’ve been waiting until I feel comfortable taking him to the doc. And I’m leery of vaccines in the first place (he is on an extended vaccine schedule) so I feel safer to postpone the vaccine rather than possibly expose him to the swine flu. We even stopped eating out for a while and don’t take my son to the grocery store right now.
    What really makes me mad is that I was no where NEAR this worried about the regular seasonal flu. The media did a great job hyping up the swine flu and terrifying everyone. And I like to think of myself as one of the independent thinkers who doesn’t take the media’s word on everything. Guess we all have our buttons that can be pushed.

  50. I’m not worried about the swine flu.But I am worried that I cant get the song
    about “Made it through the storm with lots of online porn” out of my head !!

  51. “Now I’ve been reborn,” is my contribution to the lyrics. :-)Not really worried about swine flu yet, but I don’t watch the news.

  52. I am very concerned about Swine flu H1N1 2009. I believe we are being lied to by our government. All they are interested in is keeping us shopping. This is disgraceful. That WHO has not declared a pandemic is disgraceful. Why the hell do they even exist?H1N1 is making everyone around me sick. now 2 people have officially died of it. The peak for this wave if illness in at least a month away. This has just stared and we are being led to believe that it is almost over. HA!
    I have 2 kids 16-22 and I am terrified.

  53. I’m finding the updates from the New York City Department of Health to be pretty informative.See the latest:
    Of special note is that people who have asthma should be treated with antivirals, even if their flu symptoms are mild.
    So if you have kids with asthma or you do yourself, if you experience even mild flu symptoms, do not hesitate to call the doctor right away — within two days of the symptoms, just to be safe.

  54. Hey Ali,Technically, you can “get” the same flu more than once.Here’s why Getting the flu, or a flu shot for that matter, works like this: The virus that caseus the flu has surface antigens which stimulate the immune system. A killed’ vaccine, or flu shot, is a virus that has been denatured so that it can no longer cause disease but still has the antigens necessary to stimulate the immune response. So, when you get the flu (or the flu shot) your body develops an immunity to that exact strain (H1N1 or otherwise), and you are able to fight it off the next time you are introduced to it again.This doesn’t really mean that you won’t “get” it again, it just means that your way ready for it if you do, so much so that you probably won’t even notice you have it.Hope that made sense

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