My mom was concerned about stories she had heard about the “bird flu” making its way from the American West, with patients clogging hospitals, etc. She had heard it had come as far as Kansas. Huh? So I looked it up. Here ya go, Mom.
California Flu: NOT the “Bird Flu”, But Still Needs Your Attention By Gilbert Ross, M.D.
Reports are coming from California describing clogged emergency rooms and doctors’ offices ascribed to a sudden surge in influenza cases, a localized flu insurgency, as it were. This “California Flu” epidemic should be noted in the context of the yearly flu onslaughts we see each year, and there are some caveats we need to keep in mind, this year particularly:
*This has nothing to do with the “bird flu” pandemic we have been hearing about, over and over again of late. That epidemic is thus far almost exclusively confined to birds in southern Asia. There have been about 130 human cases, and some sick birds have been found in eastern Europe. This human flu now invading California and contiguous states is part of the annual flu season and is not a harbinger of pandemics yet to come.
Recommendation: Get flu shot, wash your hands, and wash surfaces with hot water and soap (doorknobs, telephones, anything that is regularly touched). When you cough or sneeze in public (better to stay home!), do so into the crook of your elbow, not into the air or onto your hands. Drink plenty of liquids, stay warm.