Swine Flu Hospitalizations - New Risk Findings

by Dr. S on November 15th, 2009

In a previous blog, I discussed how central obesity assessed by measuring waist circumference can exacerbate swine flu (H1N1 influenza) symptoms and increase mortality. A recent analysis by Anne Schuchat, MD, of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) - National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases - shows that individuals with certain underlying chronic health conditions are also at increased risk of complications and hospitalization.

Among 500 hospitalized children suffering from swine flu complications, the most common underlying conditions included asthma, chronic lung disease, neurologic and neuromuscular disorders, and sickle-cell anemia and other blood disorders.

Of the 1400 adults hospitalized, Dr. Schuchat noted that asthma, diabetes, chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease, and immunosuppression were the most common exacerbating conditions.

Dr. Schuchat also noted that 6.1% of hospitalized adults were pregnant. She cited the main reason for this finding to be the mother's natural immune system suppression as protection against her body reacting negatively to the fetus. Also, during pregnancy many women suffer from airway compression and this could decrease the mother's ability to fight off the infection as well.

Underlying medical conditions and pregnancy, as well as central obesity as previously discussed, are risk factors which increase hospitalization and mortality associated with swine flu infection. Individuals at risk should speak to their doctor regarding these risks, and the pros and cons of immunization. Also, those considering vaccination should request preservative (Thimerosol) free vaccines, especially pregnant women and infants under 6-months of age.

Yours for better health

Dr. Sardone

Posted in not categorized    Tagged with swine flu, H1N1 virus, influenza, immunization, vaccine


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