There has been a lot of information — much of it directly contradictory — about H1N1 (“swine flu”). I think we can safely say that it hasn’t lived up to its hype — I believe the President suggested that as many as 30,000 Americans would be dead from swine flu by October, its peak. This makes it easy to dismiss it entirely… except for the fact that some people will be very badly affected, and even die.
Frankly, the whole discussion sets off my “OCD” when it comes to the numbers — any non-seasonal flu became labeled “swine flu” without testing; only the hospitalized cases were tested. I’ve read that when studies were done actually testing “diagnosed” cases of H1N1, the actual rate of H1N1 was something like 1/3 or fewer of the “diagnosed” cases. If this is the case, and only 30% of diagnosed H1N1 is really H1N1, then the actual rate of complications may be actually much higher than suspected. After all, if one million people are “diagnosed” with H1N1, but only 300,000 people actually have it, then the rate of complications is actually X/300,000, rather than X/1,000,000, which might make a very big difference. On the other hand, most of the people who come down with H1N1 have no complications, are not diagnosed, and don’t even go to the doctor — it’s just dismissed as a case of the sniffles or whatever. This very easily could mean that the 1,000,000 “diagnosed” cases of H1N1 should actually number in the several millions, and then the rate of complications would go from being X/1,000,000 to X/3,000,000. See how frustrating that is for a numbers person to handle??
So, I haven’t posted on H1N1, because — especially with all the contradictory information, and so much of it, I’ve suffered from SFO — “swine flu overload” — and didn’t want to wade through all the contradictory claims, searching through all the articles and studies that may be horrendously biased (one way or the other), trying to figure out what to do or say or think. But the folks at Midwifery Today did do all the grunt-work, and put together The H1N1 Primer for Pregnant Women, which looks pretty balanced, thorough, and accurate (or at least, honest, and as accurate as can be with all the various hyperbolic claims put forth on both sides of the issue). Plus, they have a lot of links at the bottom of the page which are bound to yield even more information.
One thing is for sure, though — the best defense is a good offense — wash your hands, avoid sick people, keep your immune system up by eating properly and taking vitamin supplements as necessary to stay healthy.