(scroll down for updates and swine flu facts) As loath as we are to contribute to the porcine frenzy, in the interest of serving you, our readers, we have been notified that there are two confirmed cases of swine flu in the Bay Area, both in Marin County.
Marin’s Emergency Services will be briefing the media at 3 today, which is good because Oprah’s not on until 4.
UPDATE: The Chronicle is reporting that the victims, “an unidentified woman, 60, and her 20-month-old granddaughter” had recently returned from a trip to Mexico, and that the child has already recovered and the grandmother’s symptoms are mild.
Swine Flu Facts: For those of you who are still confused about swine flue — what is it, how do you get it, do I have it now and need to leave work? — here’s the scoop, which we’ve abridged from information we got from the CDC and from some phone calls to UCSF:
What’s Swine Flu? It’s a respiratory disease that causes high levels of illness and low death rates in pigs, caused by the influenza type A virus.
I’m not a pig In some cases, humans turn up with the same type A viruses found in these sick pigs. Usually, these people have direct contact with pigs( the example the CDC uses is “children near pigs at a fair,” which is so Norman Rockwell it hurts)
I don’t spend any time with pigs Right. But once one person gets it from a pig, it can be passed from person to person, the same way any other seasonal flu is passed. Coughing, sneezing, and then those by whom you cough or sneeze touching their mouth or nose will do it.
So why is this such a big deal? It’s less about what’s happening, then what could happen. Since it’s so rare, most humans haven’t been exposed in the past and don’t have a natural immunity to it (the way you might with other flus you’re exposed to on the bus or whatever), so the fact that young, apparently healthy people are dying of it in Mexico has groups like the CDC on high alert.
How can I avoid it? Wash your hands, people! Keep your hands out of your eyes and mouth (this is a great time to stop chewing your nails).
How do I know if I have it?The symptoms are like any other flu: fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting.
What do I do if I have it? If you live somewhere where cases have been identified (and if you live here, you do) and you come up with the flu, you may want to hit the clinic, especially if your symptoms are severe. If they are, your doctor might opt to put you on an antiviral drug.
And stay home from work, asshole. No one wants to get your stupid pig disease.