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More Children are Dying of the H1N1 Flu…So What Does This Mean?

Tent set up at a hospital to treat patients with flu-like symptoms

Tent set up at a hospital to treat patients with flu-like symptoms

A friend alerted me to a recent LA Times article about the H1N1 flu, and wondered what I thought of it.

I told her “The Bible tells us not to worry about tomorrow for today has enough worries of its own…so if your family does not have H1N1 today, the Bible tells you not to worry about it, right? ;-)”

As a Christian, seriously, I think that should be the bottom line.  But I’m a number cruncher too, so of course I didn’t leave it at that.

It is always sad to read of children dying. It is worth noting though that it is still holding true that children are under-represented in the death statistics. Children under 18 make up 25% of our population. Depending on if you use Obama’s death toll of 1000, or the CDC’s report of 530 quoted in that article, you’ve got only 6-12% of the deaths being pediatric.

It is also worth noting that the headline of the LA Times article “CDC Reports that 19 children died of swine flu last week” is false.  The true headline should read “CDC received reports of 19 children dying from H1N1 flu last week.”  Did you catch the slight difference?  The first has 19 children dying in one week, where the second has the reports of 19 deaths getting to the CDC in one week.  We do not actually know when the children died–with lab delays, they could have died over the time span of a month or more.  Deaths in the adult population can be reported to the CDC as being “flu related” without having lab confirmation (which leads to an over-estimation of how many deaths are actually caused by flu), but pediatric deaths need to be lab confirmed before they are reported to the CDC.

Highlighting deaths in children is a deliberate ploy to play on your emotions. If “they” focus on the majority of flu deaths–80% or more occur in people over 75 years of age (and nursing home residents, not the ones who make you say “wow, I want to age like you!”)–people might start pointing out that these folks are SEVERELY immuno-compromised, so their deaths don’t exactly justify panic in the general population.  But looking at children?  We are are biologically wired to want to protect children because the survival of our species depends on it.

To put the number of H1N1 flu deaths in perspective…nearly 700 children die each year from being struck by motor vehicles, and about 8000 die of any motor vehicle related cause.

 

Mercola has just run an article that claims that all of the children had a concurrent bacterial infection, indicating compromised immunity.  Its an informative read.

I’m not really buying that this flu season is that much more severe than previous years.  Yes…hospital visits for flu symptoms are up.  That is likely because the of the media driven fear causing people who wouldn’t have otherwise gone even to their primary care Dr. to show up at the Emergency Room.  For example, consider the mom quoted here:

“The symptoms started for Leslie as of last night,” said Arellano.  “I controlled the temperature.  This morning it was okay. [But] it came back.  So I brought her in.”

Okay…show of hands…how many moms bring their kids to the pediatrician when they’ve had a fever for less than 24 hrs, let alone to the emergency room? 

I know this is a somewhat controversial thought…but for those of you who are concerned about flu…you might consider NOT “controlling the temperature” if the fever isn’t too high.  Because an elevated temperature is actually the body’s way of fighting off illness, so you could be prolonging the illness by supressing the fever.  Recent research actually suggests that use of meds to control fever after a vaccination might make the vaccine less effective because of how it hinders immune response.

One of my friends whose family was confirmed to have swine flu reported:  

 

 

 

“…I thought it was just a cold. The [school] nurse told me he had a fever of 100.1..sent me to do a culture - I thought there was no way because it seemed so mild…we have found the symptoms to be mild and that it really hasn’t been as horrible as I had envisioned it to be.”

No, I’m not particularly worried about the H1N1 flu.  If it happens to my family, I’ll deal with it then.

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Posted in Birth in the news and Home and Spiritual Sunday 4 years, 5 months ago at 9:41 am.

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