Know the Facts: Precautions for Swine Flu - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

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SwineflulogoHealth officials began receiving the first “swine flu” vaccines around the country this week, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had already reported significant influenza activity in virtually all of the states.

Ninety-eight percent of the flu cases reported were determined to be the swine flu also known as the 2009 H1N1 Flu. The CDC does not publish a confirmed number of H1N1 cases, but there were 593 confirmed deaths due to H1N1 from April through the end of August.

While trying to control the pandemic, health officials are finding that compared with seasonal influenza, the 2009 H1N1 flu is unpredictable. For example, although about 36,000 people over 65 years of age die from seasonal flu each year that age group is rarely affected by the H1N1 virus, according to Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, during a White House conference.

It has affected more people under the age of 65, including many pregnant women. Others considered at a high risk for H1N1 are the same as those at high risk for influenza. All high risk groups will receive vaccinations before the general population.

“Minority communities are no more or less at risk for H1N1 then any other communities,” said Sebelius.

African Americans and other minorities also have higher rates of chronic illness, such as asthma, heart disease, and diabetes– all underlying conditions that make it more likely that the flu can be very serious.

Dr. Mark Johnson, chair of the department of family medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry at the New Jersey Medical School in Newark, New Jersey, has not only encountered several cases of swine flu, but he teaches other doctors about how to diagnose and treat patients with it. BlackEnterprise.com talked with Johnson about the condition and its vaccine.

BlackEnterprise.com: What are the symptoms of swine flu?

Dr. Mark Johnson: There are certain signs or symptoms that you should consider emergency warning signs. In children, look for fast or troubled breathing, lethargy, irritability, unsocial interactions, or bluish skin color, which may indicate they are not getting enough oxygen due to respiratory problems.

In adults, the danger signs might be shortness of breath, chest pain, significant pain in the abdomen, confusion, dizziness, or severe and persistent vomiting.

If you experience these symptoms should you go to the emergency room?

No. Don’t go to the ER unless you have a very high fever or other dangerous symptom that you can’t control with Tylenol or ibuprofen. Going to the ER can actually be a dangerous thing because you are more likely to go to a place in which there will be a lot of people who do have the flu. If you are concerned you should call your physician.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.


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