Monday, May 25, 2009

Katrina Halili got swined but it's not the second case of H1N1 Virus in the Philippines: Symptoms, prevention, cure

There's a joke going around that Katrina Halili got swined or in Filipino, "nababoy".  But it definitely isn't second case of A(H1N1) virus detected in the Philippines.

Media organizations are making a big fuss over the second case of the swine flu or A(H1N1) virus being detected.  And I am wondering why?

This report from says a bit about it:

The Department of Health (DOH) announced this a day after a 30-year-old Taiwanese woman and her five-year-old daughter who traveled in the Philippines for five days have tested positive for H1N1 virus in Taiwan.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the second index case of A(H1N1) is a 50-year-old Filipina who arrived in the country from Chicago in the United States last May 20.

I understand that untreated, having A(H1N1) could be fatal. But then again, the viral infection can be detection and treated with Tamiflu. Moreover, with simple but proper hygiene, the spread of the disease can be prevented.

I'd think TV news reports, particularly those of ABS-CBN and GMA should be wary of the way they present reports about the virus. The typical staccato pitch gives the report an alarmist tone that one would equate with someone screaming help in the middle of a street as a house is burning down.

Just to put things into perspective, last year there was a massive outbreak of typhoid fever in Laguna and some islands of the Southern Tagalog region. GMA7 and ABS-CBN didn't make a lot of noise about it.

I'd be tempted to say that maybe it's because it didn't project a connection with a global event and both Philippine TV stations are branding themselves as regional/international TV networks.

If you want more information about the A(H1N1) virus, I suggest you go to the CDC website or you can click here for the relevant page.

And in case you guys are too busy to actually follow the link to the CDC website, here are a couple of excerpts from the CDC web page on A(H1N1) virus:

What are the signs and symptoms of this virus in people?

The symptoms of this new H1N1 flu virus in people are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. A significant number of people who have been infected with this virus also have reported diarrhea and vomiting. Also, like seasonal flu, severe illnesses and death has occurred as a result of illness associated with this virus.

How does this new H1N1 virus spread? 

Spread of this H1N1 virus is thought to be happening in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing by people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?

There is no vaccine available right now to protect against this new H1N1 virus. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza.

Take these everyday steps to protect your health:

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 hand cleaners are also effective.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.

Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

Stay home if you are sick for 7 days after your symptoms begin or until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer. This is to keep from infecting others and spreading the virus further.

Other important actions that you can take are:

Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.

Be prepared in case you get sick and need to stay home for a week or so; a supply of over-the-counter medicines, alcohol-based hand rubs, tissues and other related items might could be useful and help avoid the need to make trips out in public while you are sick and contagious.

In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

Fast breathing or trouble breathing

Bluish or gray skin color

Not drinking enough fluids

Severe or persistent vomiting

Not waking up or not interacting

Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen

Sudden dizziness


Severe or persistent vomiting

Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

Are there medicines to treat infection with this new virus?

Yes. CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with the new H1N1 flu virus. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) that fight against the flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body. If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. During the current outbreak, the priority use for influenza antiviral drugs during is to treat severe influenza illness.

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