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Woman more at risk from swine flu



October 12, 2009 – Comments (10)

How morbidly ironic that the reduced pregnancies from an economic down turn is coming at one of the best times.  It appears this swine flu is harder on pregnant woman, and simply on women overall.  It is also hitting the aboriginal community harder, and I live in an aboriginal community.  Certainly attendance is down as parents are keeping their children home from school more often.  My first year here I had a student home a month with from a cold so it makes me very concerned.

No surprise that it is affecting smokers stronger, smokers have depressed their ability to breathe and it is the ability to breathe that's putting people on ventilators.  One of the obscure pieces of data I ran into in the 80s, that more then 20 years later is still not well known, is the increased risk women have from smoking.  Women, on average, see the onset of smoking related diseases about 10 years earlier then men and that data surprised researchers because women tend to smoke fewer cigarettes and tended to smoke lower tar cigarettes.  I am wondering this male/female lung difference is related to the higher mortality of females from this flu.

Severe H1N1 infection in females 'striking': study7% of U.S. H1N1 patients died: study


10 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On October 12, 2009 at 11:07 AM, dwot (29.28) wrote:

That is strange, it took out the line space betweent the two linked articles.

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#2) On October 12, 2009 at 12:53 PM, lemoneater (56.77) wrote:

I think as a rule, women have smaller lungs than men. Perhaps, that makes cancers, etc have more of an impact sooner?

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#3) On October 12, 2009 at 1:02 PM, angusthermopylae (37.72) wrote:

My wife, a school teacher, is also worried.  She has suffered from asthma all her adult life (although it recently got much better--food allergies!), and we're trying to have a she's very nervous about the dangers to pregnant women.

On another note, my dad and I were discussing how bad a disease has to be to effectively shut down a country (this was 5+ years ago; we have some pretty strange conversations.)  Our own, non-scientific WAG (wild a$$ guess) was that if the mortality rate hit 10% (a real 10%, not maybe-kinda-probably), then society in that area would pretty much stop until the disease burns itself out.

10%, btw, is pretty darn bad.  Most modern communicable diseases don't get north of 1-3%...and usually simple health and sanitary issues keep that down.

That's probably why so many people worry about H1N1--it's scary because they don't know 1) how bad it will be, and 2) how effective simple countermeasures are.  If you have a 1-in-10 chance of dying, and it doesn't matter how well you cover up or wash your hands, then you start to worry.

(Side note:  Personally, I'm still withholding judgement.  Haven't heard of any mass graves, yet, but the fear is still out there.  Haven't heard of a cure, but the papers are filled with the obituaries of local deaths from H1N1.

We live on a farm with a municipal cemetery on the property.  One of the families there had the mother and 12 children die in August and September of 1866.  I believe it was typhoid. So, in perspective, H1N1 doesn't seem quite so bad yet.)

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#4) On October 12, 2009 at 1:35 PM, lemoneater (56.77) wrote:

From what I've heard swine flu is nothing like the 1918 flu when whole families died. I got an Italian great uncle that way although my mother's ancestry was German. My great grandmother took in the neighbor boy because his whole family was gone. That neighbor boy lived to make his 100th birthday which is why I got to meet him personally.

August, I think that Vitamin C helps keep immunity up. I also heard that cayenne pepper is good to prevent some colds. (different than swine flu I know but why suffer from colds which while less dangerous are disagreeble enough.) Wishing you and yours health.

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#5) On October 12, 2009 at 3:02 PM, dwot (29.28) wrote:

lemoneater, the 1918 flu started quite mild.  Certainly I think we have a lot behaviours and information on how to slow the spread and if you do get exposed, exposed to a lower dose which gives your immune system more time to start fighting it.

But, some of the native communities have been very hard hit.  One small community lost 7 relatively young people.  That isn't whole families wiped out, however, it is much worse then what has been seen in most people's living memory.

I have been in lots of school dealing with the loss of young people through usually motor vehicle deaths, but I only remember one from an infectious disease.  So, I'd say I saw about 50 kids die from various accidents to one from an infectious disease over the past 10 years.  7 in one community is a lot.  I forget the size of the community, but lots are under 2000 people.  The one I am in is about 600 people.  I was doing on call work, so I went to a lot of schools and it seems that most big schools lose a child every other year on average, that's a school population of maybe 1500 average.

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#6) On October 12, 2009 at 3:32 PM, lemoneater (56.77) wrote:

dwot, very sad to hear about the loss in your nearby community. 7 people are too many for the friends and relatives involved.  

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#7) On October 12, 2009 at 3:47 PM, dwot (29.28) wrote:

I'd agree lemoneater.  And the hospitals where the people were flown to did not have the capacity to deal with the number of people hospitalized.  They were borrowing ventilators from any organization they could.  The good thing that came out of this was a couple small communities crippled health care capacity in a big city and it seems that hospitals have responded in increasing their capacity to deal with the problem.  It seems to have freed up some money to buy more hospital equipment.

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#8) On October 12, 2009 at 4:10 PM, angusthermopylae (37.72) wrote:


I sincerely hope that my comments didn't offend you--"H1N1 doesn't seem quite so bad yet" was not meant to downplay, trivialize, or insult anyone's view, experience, or worries about a potentially deadly disease...

(...dang it, that's the problem with financial discussions--it's easy to say, "Close the factories in the red" and seem like you don't care about the hundreds/thousands you just said should starve...)

That's another problem with the statistics...they dilute the pain and tragedy.  For example, one article says that there are/were about 12,000 homeless in New Orleans...mostly from Katrina.  As a country, these 12,000 make up .0004% of the population--a tiny statistic.  In New Orleans, they are/were 4% of the population...a much bigger deal, but a small minority.

On the other hand, if you're one of the 12,000 then your life is in shambles.

*sigh* I ramble too much...

We just had a local kid die from the swine flu--got sick on a Tuesday morning, died Wednesday afternoon from pneumonia, apparently.  Our community is bigger than yours, dwot, but still small enough that a child dying from a version of the flu is a pretty big shock.

I'm on the fence over wether small communities or big cities would feel the H1N1 hit the most.  Small communities don't have the medical resources (hospitals, money, etc) that can absorb the impact of a serious disease outbreak.  They may also have populations that might be more susceptible to disease (indigenous population in yours, poverty in mine.)

Big cities, though, have all the benefits but also have to deal with much higher numbers of worried, sick, or dying...I imagine it would be easy for their resources to get overwhelmed.

Either way, every life is unique, important, and valuable.  I apologize if I came across as uncaring.

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#9) On October 12, 2009 at 6:10 PM, dwot (29.28) wrote:

Smoking bad....

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#10) On October 13, 2009 at 8:19 PM, dwot (29.28) wrote:

Now I am crossing my fingers, first case of swine flu reported in my community...

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