Bird Flu Pandemic Question
Oct 11, 2005
I know this may be an odd question (and not clue which forum would be the best), but I was hoping for a little guidance.
I have been poz since 1994, on meds and doing well.
We keep hearing about the possibility of a bird flu pandemic. Are there any items that poz individuals should keep on hand in the event of a flu outbreak or a terrorist action? I know we should have meds, but I can't get that much in advance. Anything other than the common sense items?
Thanks so much!
Response from Dr. Wohl
This is actually a great question!
Bird flu is scary (not what you want to hear from an infectious disease doc). There is little that can be done to protect oneself at the moment (other than opting out of a chicken plucking apprenticeship in Viet Nam). Hopefully, a vaccine will be produced and we will all get access to it.
A more immediate threat, however, is our own yearly round of influenza. This infection claims thousands of lives every year, including those of HIV+ people. The flu shot is a must. (Please, no emails about getting flu from the shot -- can't happen -- its dead! Dead virus in the shot!)
For some of my more tenuous (or worried) patients I will give a prescription for Tamiflu, a antiviral that works against influenza. At the first sign of trouble, or a confirmed exposure to a documented or highly suspicious infleunza case, I recommend getting it filled. Some do so earlier to have it on hand.
Remember, flu is not a cold. It is a put-you-in-bed-with-the-covers-over-your-head, sore-throat-inducing-aching-limbs-with-fever-and-chills virus that should never be confused with the sniffles.
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