What’s new with the flu, October 6



swine_fluThis morning, I am bringing you the latest news from the flu front.

Flu fears prompt review of hockey handshake
Can a handshake give you the flu? Apparently, sports officials in Canada are reviewing whether the traditional handshake after a hockey match should be put aside for the time being as part of the many measures to prevent of flu, seasonal or H1N1. They are not alone in putting hygiene over sportsmanship. Some of the local football (soccer to North Americans) clubs in Europe have already received instructions to leave out end-of-match handshakes. At least the hockey players have gloves on. The football players, except for the goalkeeper haven’t.

Aspirin misuse may have made 1918 flu pandemic worse
Researchers are looking more and more into the historical records of the 1918 pandemic flu in order to find ways to beat the current flus. And one of their findings is that many people who had the 1918 flu did not die of the virus itself but of aspirin toxicity. At that time, aspirin was the wonder drug that can control fever and headaches, common symptoms of the flu. Unfortunately, the doing levels then were not properly established so that many patients suffered side effects of aspiring overdose which included build up of fluid in the lungs, leading high incidence of pneumonia, secondary bacterial infection and death. According to Dr. Karen Starko, one of the study authors:

“Understanding these natural forces is important when considering choices in the future. Interventions cut both ways. Medicines can save and improve our lives. Yet we must be ever mindful of the importance of dose, of balancing benefits and risks, and of the limitations of our studies.”

Sugary Mix Is Just What the Flu Doctor Ordered
Tamiflu is in short supply and it is unlikely that the stockpiles will be enough for everybody. The manufacturer of Tamiflu is stepping up the manufacturing process and does not have time to produce the drug in children’s version, e.g. in syrup form with artificial flavouring. However, Tamiflu prescribing recommendations include instructions to pharmacists of mixing the pills with cherry syrup and purified water for children.

Flu vaccine may protect against MI
Vaccination against the flu may have an added benefit – it may also protect people from having a heart attack, according to British researchers. Acute respiratory infections that come with the flu can trigger heart attacks in people with underlying heart conditions.  According to head author Dr. Charlotte Warren-Gash:

“Our key message for health professionals seeing patients with heart disease is to encourage influenza vaccination in this group, not only to protect them from influenza infection itself but also from complications such as heart attacks.”

Photo credit: stock.xchng

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.
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