UPDATE: First US death, 2 year old Mexican child living in Texas – Since the late nineteenth century when adequate recordsbegan to be kept, there have been four major flu pandemics,in 1889, 1918, 1957 and 1968. Pandemics come in waves, andthe 1918 event showed a typical pattern. The flu spread frombirds to humans, then to pigs, then back to humans. Itappeared in March of 1918 as a mild disease, spreadingslowly until September, when it re-emerged as the mostvirulent flu in modern times. It killed 675,000 Americansand as many as a 100 million people worldwide. These hugenumbers, however, conceal an important fact: only 2 percentof everyone who was infected died.read more

Swine flu has spread to the US–2 UPDATES – On Sunday, the US government declared a public health emergency because the number of swine flu cases in this country has risen to 20 and the new variant of the virus isnot yet understood. Public institutions in Mexico have been closed down due to the virus, and free face masks have been distributed. No one has died from it in the US so far, but there have been almost 150 deaths in Mexico, although, like bird flu, most people are likely to get a mild case of the disease (the dead were most likely elderly or immune-suppressed individuals). Symptoms include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, coughing, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
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IF you wear contact lenses! – When you feel a cold or the flu coming on, take out your contact lenses or reduce your lens-wear time, or your EYES may catch a cold too!

If you have extended-wear lenses, opt for daily contact lenses when you start feeling cold and flu-like symptoms, and still remove them earlier in the evening to minimize redness and irritation. Optometrist William Benjamin says, “Colds and flu create symptoms of dry eyes or irritation with or without lens wear, and contacts may aggravate the symptoms, especially soft lenses which will lose more of their water than normal and may not rehydrate fast enough.”
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?are we prepared? When hospitals fill up, we’ll use nursing homes?are they ready? – In the July 21st edition of the Independent, Ben Russell writes that the world is failing to guard against the inevitable spread of a devastating flu pandemic which could kill 50 million people and wreak massive disruption around the globe. And one place where flu would spread quickly but plans haven?t been made is in nursing homes, whose residents are some of the most vulnerable to flu.
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