DorobekInsider: I’m back from a bout with the flu… and government flu resources

Tuesday - 11/3/2009, 1:21pm EST

Whew! I’m sorry I haven’t been posting. I was out with the flu — and let me tell you, it was yucky!

To answer the questions I’ve already had… No, they don’t know if it was H1N1 or the “normal” seasonal flu. Last Monday, I spoke to my doctor over the phone. He told me that it didn’t really matter all that much. The symptoms are pretty much the same — and the treatments are pretty much the same.

That being said, as CBS’s 60 Minutes demonstrated on Sunday, you have to pay attention to this.

To give you an idea as to how bad I felt: I didn’t even turn on my computer until this past Sunday. And I’m a computer addict!

This puts a real strain on employers, as the WSJ recently reported.

So far, outbreaks appear to be more common in schools than workplaces. But the number of cases is rising, and deliveries of a new vaccine against the virus are slower than officials had hoped.

Eighty-one percent of attendees polled at a September conference by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota said their greatest concern about H1N1 flu was employee absenteeism.

Only a third of 1,057 businesses across the U.S. surveyed by the Harvard School of Public Health in July and August said they could avoid operational problems over a two-week period if half of their work force was out because of H1N1.

To pre-empt high absenteeism, many companies are trying to get workers vaccinated, particularly those who travel internationally, says MylesDruckman , vice president of medical services for the Americas for International SOS Assistance Inc., a medical- and security-assistance company based inTrevose, Pa.

Some government flu resources out there…

* Flu.gov
* Flu.gov updates the current flu situation… and CDC’s FluView reports increasing reports of flu
* Flu.gov answers the question: How Does Seasonal Flu Differ From Pandemic Flu?
* CDC’s H1N1 flu page
* CDC’s H1N1 treatments
* CDC’s seasonal flu page
* World Health Organization’s flu page

CDC’s Steps to Lessen the Spread of Flu in the Home:

When providing care to a household member who is sick with influenza, the most important ways to protect yourself and others who are not sick are to:

  • keep the sick person away from other people as much as possible (see “placement of the sick person”) especially others who are at high risk for complications from influenza
  • remind the sick person to cover their coughs, and clean their hands with soap and water often. If soap and water are not available, they should use an alcohol-based hand rub*, especially after coughing and/or sneezing
  • have everyone in the household clean their hands often, using soap and water (or an alcohol-based hand rub*, if soap and water are not available). Children may need reminders or help keeping their hands clean
  • ask your health care provider if household contacts of the sick person—particularly those contacts who may be pregnant or have chronic health conditions—should take antiviral medications such asoseltamivir (Tamiflu®) or zanamivir (Relenza®) to prevent the flu
  • If you are in a high risk group for complications from influenza, you should attempt to avoid close contact (within 6 feet) with household members who are sick with influenza. If close contact with a sick individual is unavoidable, consider wearing afacemask or respirator, if available and tolerable. Infants should not be cared for by sick family members. For more information, see the Interim Recommendations for Facemask and Respirator Use

Meanwhile, I’m thrilled to be back and feeling better. I’m not fully at CJD energy levels yet — but I’m feeling better than I did.