Update on infection rate

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    Well, this weekend, 75% of the folks presenting to the ER for flu like symptoms were positive for Flu A (presumed H1N1). ICU's full of people on vents to the point where we're holding vented people in the ER.

    10% of the kids in the county school system are out with flu/strep. And the head of the school system says he's not closing down because he doesn't want to cause a "panic."

    Good news: at current infection spread, we should be done with this in 10-12 weeks (it will run out of people to infect).
    Bad news: Our county and the county west of us -- no tamiflu.

    Better news: I've taken both the H1N1 injection and the regular seasonal flu injection. I have not dropped dead, mutated into an alien life form, broke out in EB, GB, rheumatic arthritis, lupus or the flu. About 10 hours after the injection, I ran a 99 degree fever for 2 hours. That was it.

    What's the infection rate like where you are?
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    I'm outside of Chicago and the news is very mum about the infection rate in our area. The local high school and my own hospital is not saying much however I do know it is circulating. I am very curious to know how much so. I have a friend who works at the local PBS station and she has heard that they have been given an order to keep quite on the issue. She said "I won't call it a gag order but essentially that is what it is". Disconcerting to say the least.
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    ah the irony, 3 hours after the above post my 14 yo daughter called from school with classic H1N1 symptoms. Her best friend has H1N1 so I'm rather certain it is indeed the flu. My 16 yo son came home with same symptoms. Spoke with the school nurse who told me the flu is rampant at the high school. I spoke with a teacher at the HS and a teacher at the local elementary school (married couple, both teachers) both told me that the school corp had sent out an email to the schools advising teachers NOT to inform parents of the number of ill students and teachers. W*F??!! One would think that the school would instead be sending home letters saying that H1N1 is circulating through the district and to check please check your children for s/s before sending them to school. I'm speechless.
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    Quote from HonestRN

    I spoke with a teacher at the HS and a teacher at the local elementary school (married couple, both teachers) both told me that the school corp had sent out an email to the schools advising teachers NOT to inform parents of the number of ill students and teachers. W*F??!! One would think that the school would instead be sending home letters saying that H1N1 is circulating through the district and to check please check your children for s/s before sending them to school. I'm speechless.
    Poor risk communication and classic symptoms of fear of panic...Lack of transparency destroys trust.

    http://www.psandman.com/col/fear.htm

    Quote from www.psandman.com
    Why then are officials so fearful of frightening the public?

    It’s worse than that, actually. Officials are fearful even of acknowledging that an already frightened public is right to be frightened, or at least that the fear is normal and widespread. This is one of the most common and most pernicious errors of risk communication, and especially of crisis communication. As we have already noted, the most crucial way to help people bear their fear and thus avoid becoming panicky is to treat the fear as legitimate. Fearful people feel better, not worse, when their fear is legitimized; it is a relief. Instead, officials often stigmatize public fear as “irrational” or “hysterical.” We will return to this error when we get to its most extreme manifestation, official “panic panic” – that is, the tendency of officials to imagine that the public is panicking when it is merely taking precautions and practicing for what it may be about to face.

    The very concept “fear” has long had an image problem. Health educators, for example, shy away from fear appeals, almost willfully misreading the research literature as demonstrating that fear is an ineffective motivator. What the research actually shows is that moderate fear is very effective in motivating changes in behavior, as long as people start out insufficiently frightened. Alarming apathetic people isn’t easy, but when accomplished it is an effective way to get them to take precautions. If people are already very frightened, on the other hand, it helps to acknowledge and legitimize their fear, but trying to frighten them further can backfire. And if people are already in denial about the danger, fear appeals can push them deeper into denial. (For a discussion of this issue in the context of the 1980s peace movement’s efforts to oppose nuclear weapons, see Scared stiff or scared into action at www.psandman.com/articles/scarstif.htm.)


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