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Lansing, Michigan

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David Mittleman
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At Least 3 in Michigan Die of H1N1 Virus

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Michigan Hospitals Report Deaths from H1N1

The influenza strain known as H1N1 has been linked to at least three deaths in Michigan within the past few months.  About a dozen children and adults affected by H1N1 are also on life support at the U of M Health System’s hospitals.  Doctors are particularly concerned because they see a younger, and typically healthier, population becoming seriously ill and even dying from the H1N1 virus.  Health officials urge all individuals to get the flu shot, and to ignore old wives’ tales that vaccinations can cause autism or that the flu virus itself will give someone the flu.  Tamiflu, a prescription medication,  is also commonly given to treat both the seasonal flu and H1N1.

Symptoms of H1N1 to Watch For

Symptoms of H1N1 include typical seasonal flu-like complaints, including body aches or pains, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, cough, fever, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, headache, and chills.  Doctors say that it isn’t necessary to go to the emergency room if you only experience milder forms of these side effects, but that you should seek medical help if the symptoms get worse or won’t go away.  Serious side effects that H1N1 sufferers may experience include shortness of breath, severe abdominal pain, dizziness or confusion and warrant an immediate visit to your doctor or ER.  Swine flu can lead to serious complications, including pneumonia or respiratory failure and can also worsen chronic conditions such as diabetes or asthma.  Because swine flu can mimic the symptoms of the seasonal flu, only a laboratory test can say for sure if you have the virus.  Doctors will typically swab the inside of your nose or throat to obtain a sample for testing.

Act Quickly to Avoid Serious Complications

Our office has seen a handful of incidents where failure to provide (or obtain) adequate treatment in a timely fashion may have contributed to very serious complications.  If you begin to experience severe flu symptoms, you should seek attention right away.  Tamiflu is most effective in the first one to two days of onset.  Although it isn’t a cure, Tamiflu can reduce the severity of symptoms and reduce your recovery time by one to two days.  Being pro-active can help decrease your risk of contracting the flu.  Although I don’t personally get a flu vaccine, I practice other preventative measures such as effective handwashing.