I’ve noticed over the last two weeks a peak in the incidence of colds and flu like infections. But does everybody have swine flu? If an account of the early stages of the epidemic in Melbourne is anything to go by – no they don’t.
According to Dr Peter Eizenberg, only 5% of those treated with anti-viral drugs for flu-like symptoms in Victoria, actually had swine flu. This meant 15,000 people unnecessarily took a drug with potentially dangerous side effects.
Dr Eizenberg, chairman of a division of general practice in Melbourne’s north-east, has published a damning opinion piece in this week’s Medical Journal of Australia regarding deficiencies in the Victorian Department of Human Services response to the outbreak. The over prescribing of antiviral drugs could easily be remedied by on the spot rapid testing for swine flu, taking 10 minutes to get results in the clinic, rather than days for lab testing.
To date their have been 10 deaths from swine flu in Australia. One of the most recent has been a 3 yo boy in Melbourne. No details have been given regarding any pre-existing health issues, all other deaths have occurred in adults with ongoing medical problems. In an average year 3-6 children die from influenza of any strain, in Australia.
Remember to keep taking extra Vitamin C, cod liver oil and wash your hands thoroughly. Stay at home if you feel unwell and if your symptoms are severe call your doctor or go to your nearest hospital.