H1N1 / Swine Flu : A Naturally Occurring Phenomenon or Bio-terrorism? Symptoms and Precautions.
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H1N1 / Swine Flu : A Naturally Occurring Phenomenon or Bio-terrorism? Symptoms and Precautions.

The History of the H1N1 Virus or Swine Flu.

My wish for this factoid is not only to serve as a guide to protect our people from contracting this entirely new virus but also to serve as a springboard for questions. I have been thinking quite a bit about this virus that is suddenly sweeping our country and I have to wonder if I'm the only one who has thought that this new bug may be a gift from an enemy of our country rather than a naturally occurring phenomenon.

Let me first state that I am not a biologist, doctor or professional in the medical field. Nor am I an expert in terrorism, bio or otherwise. I have not been in the military or been involved with the Center for Disease Control in any way shape or fashion. I install seamless gutters for a living and only consider myself an expert in that field. I write as a hobby because I enjoy it, and the English language as well as others. I also have extensive knowledge in marriage, divorce and bringing up children.

My youngest son and stepson have each entered college as freshmen this year. One is at Coastal Carolina University and the other at Clemson University. As the bird flies they are approximately five hours apart from one another. I became concerned when each of our boys related to us that there were numerous confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus on their respective campuses. I told each of them calmly to be sure that they got plenty of rest and washed their hands frequently while thinking to myself... (Ya right. Freshmen boys in college getting rest and washing hands… That’s a good one.)

While I remained calm in front of my boys, inside I was really worried and took a personal interest in this latest epidemic. On the news I had heard about the first death many months ago and had recently heard of the first death in my state of South Carolina. I had more questions than answers. Where did this start? How did it start? Is it a mutation of another virus? I began to wonder, could this be terrorism? Nah. Terrorists always claim responsibility...don't they? Maybe not. After all, wouldn't it be smarter to light a fire and walk away rather than to say "I did it Ha Ha!! I did it!!" and incur the wrath of the American military? After all even us Americans use stealth technology to hide our bombers and thereby protect them. It's just smart.

I decided to delve into this virus and learn more. This is what I found out. Here is a link to a Newsweek article that describes in great detail the history of H1N1 http://www.newsweek.com/id/195692 This 3 page article describes how it was first recognized in the U.S. and how it has mutated. Read this article in its entirety as there are suggestions on the third page that from an unnamed Egyptian Islamist group that this pandemic was "God's revenge against infidels." There is another group that has suggested that the swine flu was genetically engineered and released in order to benefit the American pharmaceutical sales worldwide. That U.S pharmaceutical companies prey on poor countries in the interest of company profits. I find that statement considerably intriguing since our brilliant scientists have come up with a vaccine in record time. Dare I say reverse terrorism? Is that possible?

The really scary thing about this virus is that it attacks our population in reverse compared to the traditional influenza virus. This virus attacks our youngest with the most intensity. If a terrorist wanted to wreak havoc on America why wouldn't he go after our youngest? After all they are our future! What causes more emotional distress on adults, the death of an elderly parent or the death of their child? What is the economic impact of this disease on our country? We are still feeling the economic effects of 9/11 today and will continue to do so well into the future.

Am I paranoid? I invite you. I invite all of you to tell me, convince me that this theory is stupid and that I should go back to guttering and leave the speculation, paranoia and national security to our government.

In the mean time in order to prevent the contraction or transmission of the flu you must first break the chain of transmission. H1n1 is primarily airborne and transmitted via coughing or sneezing. It can also be picked up by touching common areas such as telephones, computer keyboards, doorknobs etc. that may be contaminated by an infected person. Wash hands with an anti bacterial soap or hand sanitizer before touching your eyes or mouth and before eating. You can also wear a mask if you so desire. Symptoms of the flu are fever, coughing, sneezing, lack of appetite and feeling lethargic. If you think you have the flu, swine or otherwise, stay home from work or school for at least a week and avoid contact with people until the virus is out of your system.

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Comments (12)

Paul, I validate your concerns because I have similar ones. How did this all happen? Not only do we have H1N1, but we are finding more cases of MRSA at our beaches on both sides of the country (Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and I'm noting that citizens - us included - are getting 'colds' that last 5 or 6 weeks and some of us relapse for another 5 weeks. Colds use to last 7 - 10 days, sometimes shorter. The U.S. is experiencing a great surge of bedbugs - 40% of hotels are infected. Bed bugs? I have many doubts about this virus - how it came about - how it was fear-ridden by the department of health in the beginning - 'many will die' and fear of the vaccine since the 1970's vaccine killed more people than the flu inself. I'm with you - I'm being cautious and most protective of the young. Perhaps a blog could be started in channels whereby we could share information as we hear it. Blessings to your boys and stay healthy. Marie :)

Ranked #40 in Flu & Cold

Marie, Thank you for the comment. I agree that colds seem to be lasting much longer. My mom has been sick several times this year. I may be paranoid but the fact that neither the media or anyone else that I have heard or read about has even suggested that this could have been an act of bio-terrorism disturbs me. I can understand that the government may not want to create panic within our own borders but this just seems to be spreading too quickly. I guess we'll just have to see how the new vaccine will work and keep praying. I should have mentioned in my article that people in point of sale positions such as cashiers or bank tellers should be especially careful since they are handeling cash and coming in direct contact with hundreds of people on a daily basis. I also agree that an awareness blog or channel should be started so that new info and protective measures can be shared as they become available. Thanks again.

Interesting article Paul. For me, I do not necessarily believe that H1N1 was an attack directed at the US. Some of the statistics are a bit misleading since they report the "Americas" as a whole, which shows staggering numbers, but many places in South America have significantly more reported cases than the US. I live in travel in some of the worst affected areas of the Western Pacific and (knock on wood) I've had no issues. Asia seems better prepared and equiped to handle pandemics after their experience with SARS. In my opinion, they take better precautions for airborne illnesses in general, compared to some places I've traveled elsewhere in the world. When traveling in most airports within Asia, they have temperature checkpoints when you are headed through customs. And places like Hong Kong, you have a detailed form to fill out with contact info and if someone is later deemed sick, they have all your contact info for the next 7 days in the event they need to quarantine or notify people. I've seen some public places, like bathrooms, noted to be disinfected every hour, hand sanitizers are provided in restaurants, malls, and other public areas of congregation, and obviously many people wear masks when they leave their homes. There has been a high number of cases reported in this part of the world and sadly, a number of deaths from all age ranges. It just seems to me that if someone unleashed something like this in a terrorist type attack, they could not control it enough to avoid devastation in their own region at some point. While I certainly don't discount the need for concern and the real issue of H1N1, I think some people are overly panicked and have stopped traveling as a result, which has further crippled the global economy. I've experienced some people who don't ever want to leave their house for fear they will die. I've traveled through some regions with a high number of confirmed cases, like Hong Kong (twice), Macau, Thailand, the US, and certainly through Taiwan just in the last 2 months and have not had any issues. Interesting you and Marie discuss other health concerns in the US. I grew up in Los Angeles with a host of respiratory issues my whole life. My allergist at one point said I basically should live in a bubble - I was allergic to everything, except any type of food. Any pollen, tree, flower, grass, etc. You name it, I'd have a reaction to it. But since I've moved to Asia, this is the healthiest I've been allergy/respiratory wise. I've taken allergy meds only twice in 4 months and both times it was for an allergic reaction to mosquito bites! My eating habits have changed and I am eating much healthier and drinking a lot of Chinese tea which is said to have a number of health benefits and I feel so different. My first trip back to the US a few weeks ago, I was sick after every meal I ate out. I think my body is no longer used to the overly processed and heavy foods typically consumed in American diets. Discussing health/diets, etc reminds me of some tribes we studied in Cultural Anthropology back in college. We looked at the history of these tribes and subsequent Western influence. One tribe in Africa was pretty much wiped out after our involvement. We introduced gambling, processed foods, and a different lifestyle and soon, new diseases and illnesses were popping up all over that were never seen before - things like cancer and neurological disorders. Perhaps it just the advent of technology and detection of them now versus in years past, but part of me believes diet plays an important role. This obviously could be a whole new and different discussion, but I believe there has to be a reason that we are seeing such aggressive disease and death in the younger population. Half of my friends and/or co-workers in the past few years either lost a parent or sibling at a young age, or had a friend who had cancer. Women dying of breast cancer in their twenties and early thirties is just impossible for me to fathom, but it makes me wonder what is so different today than 50 years ago? I just keep thinking that diet and environment play important roles.

Ranked #40 in Flu & Cold

Erin, thank you so much for your insightful comment. I was hoping for a perspective such as yours. I'm with you on the diet and lifestyle connection to health issues. I think a good portion of our population is realizing the health benefits of eating properly. This is why were seeing a spike in healthfood sales and free range poultry and beef sales but I think it may take quite a bit of time to undo the damage done to our country and ourselves by pollution and steroid injected farm animals. My thing with the terrorism opinion is that in the recent decade we have seen swine flu, bird flu, mad cow, sars, mrsa and resistance to anti-biotics in our population. Not to mention aids in the decade before. I'm no history major but I don't recall any onslaught of so many diseases / viruses so closely strung together in history. I know all the aforementioned diseases were not relegated to the U.S. and therefore may throw out the terrorism idea but something is happening and if we don't figure it out one of these new diseases is going to be particularly deadly to our population or our foodchain.

There's an old saying, "You're not paranoid when someone is truly after you." Great GREAT! article. We have wondered the same thing especially last year when we had a mysterious cough (possibly whooping cough), but it lasted from Thanksgiving to Easter between the 5 in our family. People laugh at us when we mention bioterrorism at work, but I still raise an eyebrow at the idea. We no longer put our faith in vaccines as my son had an adverse reaction as a baby, and that's when we started refusing the vaccines for our other children. We have no trust in pharmaceutical companies - All you have to do is see a commercial to loose trust there - After touting the benefits of a drug, you hear all the side effects - Usually death is one of them in there somewhere. Yikes! I'll step down off my soap box, but VERY GOOD ARTICLE! Thank you! Oh, and We had some work done on our house a few years ago & you are in a great line of work.

Thoroughly enjoyed the article...and also Erin's comment. As to whether we're talking natural strain of a previous version of the flu, or a possible bioterrorist leak - I'm not going to guess on that. I lean toward what Erin noted, with a healthy dose of tin-foil-hat'ism at the ready (just in case! *wink*). I've been gritching about processed foods, additives, and how those unhealthy things have played so heavily into our collective health and natural immune systems. I'm gradually working within my household to faze out as much junk and unhealthy stuff as I can (by and large) and getting back to as natural as possible. But back to topic, interesting subject. I've been reading up on the CDC info related to the vaccine, and even with a 4 mo old in the house, I've hesitated strongly about getting the vaccine, or having any of my kids get the vaccine - and my husband, who is at much higher risk of contracting the virus has also said that he's not keen on the idea.

Ranked #40 in Flu & Cold

Tere and Denise, Thank you so much for your comments and voicing your fears of vaccination. I, myself have fallen victim to the very flu I have written about in this article. My wife wanted me to get the seasonal fle vaccine this year and I passed it up. Well about 4 weeks ago while working I really felt strangely lethargic. I went home, went to bed early and to work the next day. I was totally miserable. I barely had the energy to go up and down a 4 foot ladder. It took me 3.5 hrs to do a 1 hr job but I finished and went home. When I got home I had a 102 degree fever. This was a Thursday and I was thankful that it rained on Friday. I was still sapped of energy and was controling my fever with Ibuprophen and tylenol. I went to the pharmacy to see if there was something else they could reccommend because I had also developed a three pack a day cough. I told the pharmacist my symptoms which included the cough, the rollercoaster temperature, lack of energy and severe body aches. It hurt to open and close my eyes. He suggested I see a doctor and get Tamaflu but that if I wasn't going to the doctor to continue with Ibuprophen and to take Mucinex DM for the cough. I figured I would try to tough it out till Monday and then go to the doctor if symptoms persisted which they did. Whenever the Ibuprophen would wear off my temp would spike again. Monday I called the doctor and he told me not to bother coming in. Since my symptoms had persisted for more than 48 hours they were not allowed to give me Tamaflu because it would be ineffective. I had to wait it out. Well Tuesday I began to sweat. I sweat for 24 hours straight soaking through clothing and blankets three times. My temp finaly broke but the cough persisted. I pulled all the muscles in my back from the violent coughing. Apparently what is common with H1N1 is a secondary lung infection much like pneumonia. I would say that now, 4 weeks later I have recovered about 99%. I still have a slight cough with some minor chest congestion. Even though the H1N1vaccine was not available to me before I contracted it, if it were I probably would not have gotten it anyways. Now in hindsight I think I might try it. For those who do not get the vaccine, H1N1 is killing about 1% of it's victims. They are comparing the H1N1 vaccine to the Seasonal flu vaccine this way, They say it's like buying two identical condominiums with different furniture and they are assuring its safety. I think I might be willing to try it rather than suffer what I just went thru again. Fortunately I was in excellent health before contracting it, but had I been someone with a weekened immune system I do believe it could have killed me. Weather or not to get this vaccine is an important choice for each individual and should not be taken lightly. posted just now - delete Leave comment You are signed in as: Paul Torri Notify me of new comments

Oh Paul, I'm so sorry you went through all of that. As I write this, my sister's mom is in ICU fighting for her life. *sigh* She's improving, but there was a point from what my sister said, the docs were only giving her a 40% chance. I've been in contact with my older kids' schools, because our school districts are administering the vac (from ages 9-17) via the health dept at the schools. The baby is only 5 months old, so not eligible for another month. The bigger priority is getting the older two vaccinated, since their exposure is far greater than mine. At 6 months, the baby will get the 2-dose vaccine, in addition to his regular 6-mo shots. I'll get mine (hopefully) in a couple of weeks at my regular exam. Soooo awful, this thing is. :(

Ranked #40 in Flu & Cold

Denise, My prayers are with you and your family. This flu is spreading so quickly it is touching someone close to all of us by now. Ironically about a week and a half ago I was also in an automobile accident (there has been a black cloud hovering over me lately) I went to the emergency room and I would say that ten percent of the people in the waiting room were wearing a mask over their face to prevent the spreading of the flu. It really struck me then how much of a pandemic this is. Good luck to you and your family.

Wow, you have written a very thought provoking article. I am tweeting this one, and marking it as a favorite.

Ranked #40 in Flu & Cold

Martin, Thank you very much for your comment and tweet. I think even now that the wrath of this horrible disease has passed that it is very important to keep thinking about the threat of the flu each and every year.

Ranked #28 in Flu & Cold

These diseases are some of the most popular phenomenon which infected millions of people around the world. Knowing its signs and symptoms are necessary to self quarantine our body before it gets spread to other members or our family and community. Thank you for sharing this informative article, keep it up! (LIKED and SHARED)

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