Friday, May 1, 2009

Funny, your kid doesn't LOOK Flu-ish...

Thus far the 2009 H1N1 virus, aka Swine Flu has been most dangerous to children. When should you worry? From a third-party report of CDC advice comes this list of " Symptoms of severe disease in children"
  • Apnea
  • Tachypnea
  • Dyspnea
  • Cyanosis
  • Dehydration
  • Altered mental status
  • Extreme irritability

Say what?
The symptoms of mild flu are probably familiar to most parents: fever is one that can help distinguish between a garden-variety cold and influenza. I booted up my handy Stedman's medical dictionary to translate the CDC's symptoms of "severe disease." This is a rather crude translation; actual interpretation is better left to medical personnel.
  • absence of breathing
  • rapid breathing
  • shortness of breath; distress in breathing
  • dark bluish or purplish discoloration of the skin and mucous membrane
As for interpreting dehydration, altered mental status and -- get this -- extreme irritability in young people, I leave that to the parents, teachers and caregivers. One kid's "altered" is another kid's "imagination play."

Therapy is available
IF your child is diagnosed with this new, dangerous mutation of influenza:
Regardless of age, the CDC recommended initiation of antivirals as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms and continuation for five days at the same doses used for seasonal flu…he H1N1 virus is susceptible to both oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza)

Translation: if a medical professional determines that your child-- or any member of your family -- has swine flu, they should take Tamiflu or Relenza right away. It should work.

By the fall we expect the annual flu vaccine to provide protection against this porcine mutant virus. For now, wash your hands.

Thanks to MedPage Today

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