Sunday, January 20, 2008

January 19 Flu Update

There appears to be a new human case in Vietnam.

The Indian Medical Association will be sending help to effected areas.

It is hard to tell where reports overlap, but it seems safe to say that the flu continues to spread in India.

Same here....

ProMed on India (bird flu spreading) and a report from Iranian media on outbreak.

Bird sanctuaries are also worried....

Blood sampling is going on in India....

Public meeting on bird flu in India draws standing room only crowd.

Excellent Revere post on a ridiculous article stating that a shortage of thermometers could pose a problem. As a Father, I agree 100%. We'd use a thermometer in a squirming child and get two readings that were 3 degrees apart. Put your hand on the forehead....the person either has a fever or they don't.


At 6:37 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


One of the important things I would like to point out that will be vitally important during the expected influenza pandemic, is not having thermometers (even though I believe everyone should have at least one good thermometer in their house), but the how to treat dehydration. One of the primary complications caused by the flu is dehydration, and this can be especially dangerous in young children. Dehydration can be fatal.

Having been thrust into the role as being a “care giver” to a seriously ill person for over three years, I can tell all you and all of your readers, if a severe influenza pandemic were to occur – which would in effect force nearly all of us to “self quarantine” and avoid going out into the public to avoid exposure to viruses – everyone may be thrust into the role of being a medical “care giver” to themselves and their immediate family members. Simply: normal visits to emergency rooms, clinics and public triage would be avoided, and one would only visit those sites only during an extreme life threatening emergency.

Influenza often causes gastroenteritis, which is an infection of the stomach lined, often accompanied by bouts of cramping, vomiting and diarrhea, lasting from one to ten days. Normal treatment of dehydration in sick children requires the use of an oral re-hydration solution such as Pedialyte, which contains water and salt in specific proportions to replenish both fluids and electrolytes. It also contains glucose or another carbohydrate such as rice powder to enhance absorption in the intestinal tract. Oral re-hydration products are readily available in drug stores, they are economical, and should be on everyone’s emergency supply list. In fact, in an emergency situation, during a pandemic, you can buy packets of a powdered oral re-hydration solution. In a dire emergency, you can make your own oral re-hydration solution by mixing ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 3 tablespoons sugar and mixing thoroughly 1 liter (about 1 quart) of drinking water.

It is very important to note that plain water does not provide essential electrolytes to a dehydrated individual, and although sports drinks replenish electrolytes in the body, they only replace those lost through sweating, and not through diarrhea or vomiting. Sodas, fruit juices, Pepto-Bismol, antacids and gelatins do not relieve dehydration complications either, and may actually make symptoms worse.

For those of your readers who want a “Good Home Treatment of Influenza” document to keep on hand, the following link provides a practical guide to home care of mild to severely ill patients that relies on a simple common sense approach, written by Grattan Woodson, MD, FACP:


If a severe influenza pandemic occurs with high fatalities, we will all be forced to become home health care givers and providers to our families, whether we like it or not. Emergency medical care probably will not be immediately available, like it is now. In fact, a smart person will not want to venture into the public domain.

I hate to use the trite phrase, but “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, when it comes to a simple thing like dehydration.



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