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View Diary: The Next Influenza Pandemic (120 comments)

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  •  Don't panic! Wash your hands! (4.00)
    This may sound silly, but there is no way for anyone to get a virus unless it has a means of entering your body.  The most common means is through the mouth, but the eyes are also vulnerable since many people rub their eyes or fool around with contact lenses.  So the best preventative measure you can take to safeguard your health and public health in general is the simple act of washing your hands thoroughly.  This should be the first thing you do when you get to work and when you get home.  Keep lotion by the sink so your skin doesn't get too dried out.  Be very conscious in public transportation especially of people who are coughing and sneezing out into the air.  Stay away from them, but also if you can ask them (politely) to cover their mouths.  Use plastic gloves when cleaning up after your pets.  I won't brag, knock on wood, but I am very conscious of exposure to disease and take my vitamins and eat healthy and get exercise and I haven't gotten the flu in so long that I can't remember.  Knock on wood, knock on wood.  Because there are always things that are beyond our control.
    •  something that has kept me healthy (4.00)
      in a lot of developing world countries as well as here at home: I NEVER touch my eyes with my hands and I'm careful about my nose too. If I have to rub my eyes I use the collar of my shirt. I've heard it said (sorry no reference) that most colds are spread through your eyes and nose (door handle to hands to eyes is common) but NOT through your mouth. Flu is a different beast but I would expect many of the same issues to hold. You have a pretty nasty, caustic environment in your stomach and a lot of things in your mouth as well that kill germs. Your eyes and nose have fewer defenses. This at least is my understanding (I'm no expert though - feel free to correct me if anyone has a better understanding).
      •  Good point! (none)
        I'm not in the medical profession but worked at UCLA medical center for 20 years and went to many infectious disease in-service training sessions. The eyes are very vulnerable, but if you wear contact lenses you have to touch them.  Just be very careful.

        Also:  I should add that good personal hygeine does not necessarily address the political implications of these public health issues, but on a personal level there is no need to feel helpless or scared if you take good care of yourself.

      •  However.... (4.00)
        "Patients who were treated with acid suppressants developed pneumonia 4.5 times (95% CI, 3.8-5.1) more often than those who never used the drugs, but this association was not adjusted for potential confounders."
        from  http://www.merckmedicus.com/pp/us/hcp/hcp_newsarticle.jsp?newsid=321763&newsgroup=2

        So the 'little purple pill' many people take can reduce that caustic stomach environment and lead to more people developing pneumonia, or so news reports seem to indicate.

        •  unadjusted for potential confounders (none)
          True - but that is the unadjusted result.

          Examining current use and adjusting for confounders the association is still significant, but much more modest (OR=1.27, 95%CI 1.06-1.54).

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