Tag Archives: Arizona

MONITORING THE FLU SEASON

dreamstime_l_20046833There is lots of information available on the flu in Arizona and around the country, and if you are on-line a lot, like I am , it’s easy to avail yourself of this information.

First, I recommend our Twitter Feed and look for the BUGS IN TOWN report…that reports what we are seeing in the office and what the status of flu is in Arizona.  You can find that information on TWITTER WITH DOCTOR LAKIN or on the ROTATING SCREEN on the front page of the website.

Additional and more formal information is availble at these sites:

ARIZONA INFLUENZA

CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL INFLUENZA REPORT

Keep up to date on what’s happening with the flu in AZ and the US and you’ll be better prepared.

NEW SALMONELLA OUTBREAK> COOK CHICKEN TO 165 DEGREES

London to Brighton Veteran Car RunWith nearly 300 people infected with a multi-drug resistant Salmonella infection in California and across the West Coast, it’s important to identify the potential offending chicken and avoid eating it, but even more important is handling chicken properly and cooking it to 165 degrees to kill any bacteria that you may get exposed to.

There have been 11 cases in Arizona, with the majority being in California.  The map is here

The outbreak has been ongoing since August and continues to develop, so each of us needs to attend to this outbreak and make sure we are keeping proper technique to prevent transmission and infection.

Here are additional safety tips for the handling of poultry.

Of course, if you think you have a severe diarrheal illness with higher fever, or any bleeding in the bowel movement, be right in touch.

NEW ‘CANCER THEORY’ FROM ASU PHYSICIST PROMOTES INTEREST

moonPaul Davies is an ASU physics professor and an expert in astrobiology (the potential formation of life on distant planets).  If an ALIEN comes to visit our world, it is said that Davies will be among the first scientists contacted to interact with them (far fetched….yes….but this is actually the case.)

His latest foray into biology was published in PHYSICS WORLD and he, along with another Autralian researcher, suggests that the origins of cancer date back to the development and evolution of life itself.   He proposes that cancer is an ‘ancient’ genetic code that all cells have within them, which lays dormant, and is activated by various factors, connecting these genes to man’s evolutionary origin and embryology (embryo development) to the production of cancerous cells.

Additional research is proposed to check for this potential connection and if found, could have a profound effect on the direction of future cancer research.

Read more here at ASU

 

FLU UPDATE….ACTIVE, BUT WANING

virus greensThe influenza outbreak this year has been heavy the past few weeks, with the largest group of sick patients we’ve seen in a few years, at least at one point in time.  The good news, is that it appears to be waning.  That is what we’ve seen in the office, and that is what is suggested by the data.

Fortunately, in the Southwest, the flu has been relatively mild in it’s intensity, with most patients feeling poorly, but very few requiring the hospital.  In fact, we’ve had ZERO patients sent to the hospital for pneumonia from the flu this year, at least from our offices…and that is rather unusual and mild.

So, be aware that the flu is around, but be emboldened by the fact that it is waning.   If you get a cough and fever, call for the Tamiflu or Relenza inhaler

See me about the flu this year in the Southwest as indicated by this interesting, interactive graph:

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1300375?query=featured_home

 

THE FLU IS HERE….SO NOW WHAT?

The flu is widespread throughout the country and in Arizona.

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/usmap.htm

 

In the past two weeks we have seen more flu, in one compressed timeframe, than at any other time in my career.

The said, the flu is milder than in years past.  We have sent ‘ZERO’ people from the office, to the hospital with pneumonia, which suggests to me that this is flu is less virulent than in previous seasons and that the flu shot this year was quite effective.

Many people who had the flu shot are still getting the flu this year, it is just much milder than it would have otherwise been.  This is logical, as the flu shot this year has been confirmed as being made up of the subtypes of flu that are prevalent.

At this point, if you have not had the flu shot, it is a coin-toss whether you get the flu shot now.  By the time  it becomes active in your immune system, the flu season will have peaked, that is for certain.  Whether the season will drag on, or not, is anybody’s guess.

See these graphs to compare this season to the last two and you will see the current one is not extraordinary, despite what the popular media would have you believe.virus blue

http://www.azdhs.gov/phs/oids/epi/flu/pdf/2012-2013/influenza-2012-13-week1.pdf

 

If you do get the flu now (cough, fever or no fever, aches, sore throat)….you can benefit form the TAMIFLU or RELENZA, the two anti-viral medications that will shorten the flu episode.

So….know what’s out there and know that all is going to be fine.  Get your flu treatment if you get sick at this point, but not to worry.

AND SO IT BEGINS…….

Based on the latest flu data reports from the state, Arizona is beginning it’s flu season.

It is starting slowly, but currently resembles the 2010-2011 season, which peaked in February.

We know that this year’s flu shot is ‘right on’ and will cover much of the flu-strain that is out in the community, so I anticipate a subdued flu season this year.  That said, we can never know, so keep apprised of  the latest by viewing:
1.  This Blog

2.  The Bugs In Town viewer on the rotating screen (front page of www.Doctordoug.com)

3.  Getting our Twitter feed         https://twitter.com/DoctorLakin

Read more here:

http://www.azdhs.gov/phs/oids/epi/flu/

MORE WEST NILE NATIONALLY

West Nile is having a banner year in 2012 unfortunately, with an increase in cases across the country. Most are in Texas and Oklahoma…..Arizona, fortunately has not been having a marked increase.
Still….West Nile, a virus transmitted by mosquito bites, is still prevalent here in Arizona and has it’s peak occurrence in August.
So….be aware to limit your exposures to mosquito bites: Wear appropriate clothing when possible, use DEET containing sprays (Like OFF!) and eliminate standing water around your house to prevent mosquito breeding.

For more information on West Nile…..check out the CDC’s website

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm

WHAT A GREAT GUY…AND HE’S HERE IN TEMPE

Did you see the article in the AZ Republic today about the PhD student who won his insurance battle with Aetna, to get coverage beyond his 300,000 lifetime maximum?
Read it here….
http://www.azcentral.com/business/articles/2012/07/27/20120727asu-student-fighting-cancer-twitter-victory-aetna.html

It’s a great story of a strong student who is fighting for his life after being diagnosed with advanced cancer at the age of 30.   He used Twitter to ask  for assistance from his insurance company….and got it.

I think we all can imagine how devastating such an illness is, let alone the financial challenges this fellow has.
If you are interested in assisting him, donations at his site:
poopstrong.org/   ……are just the thing.
I checked out  his shirts and will be ordering some. I must say, you’ve gotta admire his “Rock the Pouch” shirt….turning having a colostomy bag into a badge of honor….I love it!

FLU SEASON CALLED MILDEST ON RECORD

The CDC issued it’s final analysis for the flu season in the past week and they confirmed the mildest flu season in recent history. This is based on very complete data that they have been collecting since 1997.
Probably, this occurred as a result of the new strain of Influenza Virus (the swine flu or H1N1 strain) that changed in the 2009-2010 season. That new flu strain was very active and caused a high degree of infection. The next year (last year) showed significant flu as well, as the group without exposure in the previous year now was getting infected. This year, the last few people who had missed the previous two years were the final ones to get infection and this left a very limited number of people susceptible.
Yet…..there is still some flu here in Arizona. This is very late in the season and quite unusual. There were 88 cases in AZ last week, so to be aware that despite the mild season, we are having a trailing-off of cases that will inger for a few more weeks through the summer.

HOLD….FLU STALLED IN ARIZONA

Well….the initial statistics suggested a peak, and then decline in the flu reports in Arizona, but the latest data shows that the decline is a false hope. The flu remains in the state and is hovering at an elevated level. It is showing no sign of resolving itself quite yet.
So…if your home is filled with cough, fever, and sore throat…it’s probably the flu and you should call in to try some flu medication if you can catch it early.