Spanish Flu Different from Swine Flu Pandemic: Experts Suggest H1N1 Flu Virus No Cause for Panic

Many reporters and scientist cite the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 when discussing the H1N1 virus (Swine Flu). Yet key differences exist between the two pandemics.

Whenever talk of an influenza pandemic arises, invariably the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak is mentioned. The current H1N1 flu pandemic or Swine Flu virus is actually a strain or offshoot of the 1918 Spanish Flu virus, which increases the concern among health care workers about the virus’ ability to spread, infect, and kill people. Swine flu or H1N1 is a mix of four viral strains into a new, unique type. Yet there are critical differences between the 1918 outbreak and the 2009 outbreak.

The 1918 Spanish Flu Epidemic

The 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic killed approximately 100 million people worldwide. It lasted from March 1918 to June 1920. Unlike other influenza epidemics, this particular strain caused 10-20% mortality as compared to less than .1% mortality and appeared to kill healthy young adults more so than infants and the elderly, the typical victims of flu. Researchers estimate that one third of the entire world’s population contracted Spanish Flu.

Critical Differences Between H1N1 and the 1918 Spanish Flu Outbreak

Scientists have long feared a second influenza pandemic. The last significant pandemic was the 1968 Hong Kong flu. Many critical differences between the 1918 outbreak and the H1N1 strain should put people’s fears to rest.

According to one of the biology reference sites, these differences include the following:

  • Spanish Flu was so deadly because it caused a cytokine storm. A cytokine storm is when the virus hijacks the body’s immune system and overwhelms it, thus negating the body’s natural defense.
  • Spanish Flu targeted the young and healthy. The Swine flu virus affects a mixed group of people.
  • Secondary infections such as bacterial pneumonia accounted for a huge number of deaths from Spanish Flu. Today, antibiotics combat bacteria pneumonia. Antibiotic medications did not exist in 1918.
  • Antiviral medications such as Tamiflu can be used to shorten the severity and duration of Swine Flu. These medications did not exist in 1918.
  • Breathing difficulties due to congestion and bleeding in the lungs also caused deaths from the Spanish Flu. Today, medical equipment such as ventilators (breathing machines) can assist breathing in severely ill patients.

World War I and Its Effects Upon the Spread of Spanish Flu

Another important consideration is the effects of World War I on the spread of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. During times of war, several factors coalesce to create the “perfect storm” for a pandemic.

  • Men are housed in close quarters such as barracks, creating an ideal environment for infection to spread.
  • Medical supplies during World War I may have been harder to obtain, with many supplies going to the war effort. What was available was primitive compared with modern medications and treatments.
  • Food shortages, rationing and poor quality food weakened the population of countries at war.

The only factor affecting today’s Swine flu outbreak is when people live in close quarters. Outbreaks of Swine flu reported in September 2009 on college campuses, especially in dormitories. But most Swine flu victims are ill for only about three days before feeling better. If complications arise, they can be treated in the hospital.

H1N1 Flu Pandemic No Cause for Panic

Dr. Jorge Parada, associate professor of medicine at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine says that H1N1 is no cause for panic. “It was the pre-antibiotic age. If you had post-influenza pneumonia, the likelihood of doing poorly and dying were much higher,” Parada said. “We’re in the antibiotic age now and we do a much better job of treating and preventing post-influenza pneumonia.”

Parada also points out that antiviral medications such as Tamiflu and Relenza, if used in the early stages of infection, shorten the severity and duration.

“The earlier treatment is started, the more effective it is,” Parada said. “If treatment is started after 72 hours of symptoms, it has very limited effect. It has a greater effect if it’s started after 48 hours and an even better effect if it’s started within 24 hours of symptoms.”

Other weapons to fight H1N1 include flu vaccines and simple hygienic practices such as frequent hand washing or using hand sanitizers, staying at home if feeling ill, and avoiding crowds during known outbreaks. For those who do not wish to receive a flu vaccine, following natural and alternative methods to boost immune system response, such as avoiding sugar and increasing intake of fruits, vegetables and healthy foods, using herbs and homeopathic remedies might help.

Parada and other scientists caution that while H1N1flu pandemic is no laughing matter, it’s not time to panic yet. The world is a long way from the millions of deaths experienced during the 1918 pandemic. Hopefully, H1N1 will be a typical influenza virus and will disappear as quickly as it appeared.


Morgellons Disease – A Rare Medical Condition: Learn the Symptoms and Treatment

A rare new medical condition is currently under study investigations by the CDC because of the many unusual symptoms it has shown to produce.

The CDC has begun study investigation on a rare new medical condition that produces many unusual symptoms. This rare condition is called Morgellons Disease. There have been many reported cases of this disease where the patients report to experience moving fibers growing from within skin lesions on the body. These rare symptoms often lead doctors to improperly diagnose a patient with a psychiatric disorder instead of an actual medical condition.

The CDC began their investigation after the numbers of reported cases of Morgellons Disease began to rise. This disease has become so wide spread that all 50 states of the United States now report cases of Morgellons Disease. Florida and Texas have reported the most cases. Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia have began reporting similar cases of Morgellons Disease. The only evidence that has come for the studies is the conclusion that the patients family members are likely to be affected by the condition as well.


Morgellons Disease produces very rare and very odd symptoms. These symptoms are so unique that patients are often disregarded as having a psychiatric condition. A common symptom of this condition is painful skin lesions that cause an intense and painful itching. Inside the skin lesions, patients report seeing white, blue, red, and black moving fibers. There have been many reports of odd sensations underneath the skin as if bugs were crawling in their skin or insects have been stinging them. Extreme fatigue has been associated with this disease as well as lack of concentration. Some patients have experienced vision disturbances and memory loss. The joints and muscles of the bodies can become painful. Behavioral changes and gastrointestinal disturbances have been reported. The skin on the body can begin to change texture and even color.


Since Morgellons Disease is a relatively new condition, there is no known cure. So little is known about this condition that it is not even known if it is infectious. The cause of this rare disease remains unknown as well. Doctors can only recommend treatments to cope with this condition. The most important step for a patient to follow is to get frequent check ups by a trusting and understanding doctor. Alternative treatments may benefit the treatment of this disease so it is important to keep an open mind. Conventional medications have not shown to have any positive impact of treating Morgellons Disease.

Achondroplasia: A Form of Dwarfism

Acondroplasia is a rare genetic disorder characterized by short stature.

Acondroplasia features include disproportionate stature. This basically means that the arms and legs are relatively small when compared to the torso (body). The size disadvantage acondroplasia patients have is more observable in the upper legs and arms (proximal).

Additional signs include a prominent forehead (frontal bone), a prominent jaw, and a flat or depressed region between the eyes. On occasion, there is overcrowding of teeth, and the upper and lower dentition have bad alignment. The disease occurs in all races with equal incidence in women and men. Achondroplasia attacks one in 25,000 to one in 40,000 people.

The lower extremities of a patient with achondroplasia almost always turns bowed, and occasionally the elbow joint can’t be straightened out completely. The arms are short and stumpy and the feet can be small, flat and wide.

Causes of Achondroplasia

A chemical modification within a single gene results in achondroplasia. It does not arise from anything the parents have practiced during or prior to childbirth. Achondroplasia starts from an autosomal dominate condition. What this means is a new chromosomal mutation or genetic alteration began to take place at the time of conception.

The disease may also be communicated from one generation to the next; 9 out of 10 babies born with this illness have average-sized mothers and fathers. If one adult has the disease, there is a fifty percent probability their baby will inherit a copy of the gene. If the mother and father both have the disease there is a twenty-five percent chance the baby will have a dominant gene factor and a seventy-five percent possibility of a single achondroplasia gene. This gene is referred to as FGFR3 (fibroblast growth factor).

Other Illnesses Related to Achondroplasia

Babies with this disease have an inclination towards middle-ear infections. This may occur until 5 or 6 years of life, and it may be owing to abnormal draining from the “pipe” that leads from the middle part of the ear to the throat (pharynx). Respiratory troubles can happen in babies and children, due to constricted nasal openings.

An individual with achondroplasia will have the same life expectancy as an individual without the disease. Hydrocephalus (water in the central nervous system) can also occur in certain instances of achondroplasia.

Kids with achondroplasia may successfully reach motor milestones of growth, but differently and more gradually than youngsters without the disease. For example the baby with achondroplasia might take much longer to sit up than a baby who does not have the disease – but there could always be exceptions.

Pediculosis Explained: Having Critters in Your Hair

If you have children, you probably know that from time to time something occurs that is an all out and complete nightmare. Among these things is head lice or pediculosis.

Kids tend to be the most prone to acquiring pediculosis, particularly when they are still attending elementary school.

The most obvious culprit? Other children! You may observe that grownups very rarely ever contract pediculosis, but kids frequently do. As a matter of fact, it’s probably rare that you know one adult individual that did not get pediculosis as a child or has a kid who has already experienced something of this nature.

The Dangers of Pediculosis

Head pediculosis isn’t life-threatening and they do not spread diseases, but they’re contractible and can be quite bothersome for your youngster. Their stings may cause a youngster’s scalp to turn nail-bitingly excruciating and reddened, and long-term itching may lead to skin irritation and possibly infection!

The majority of parents realize what it’s like to have to experience something with your child and not be capable of dealing with it so when it comes to pediculosis capitis or body pediculosis you might not even find out your kid has it till you genuinely pay attention to a few key signs and symptoms.

There are a few things you can be watching out for in order to ascertain if your child has Pediculosis

Pediculosis eggs (also known as nits) seem like tiny brown, purplish, or yellow dots prior to them hatching. After hatching, the leftover shell looks light yellow or white. Pediculosis is when nits are deposited on hair follicles located at the skin’s surface, where the heat is ideal for keeping the eggs warm until they hatch.

Nits look much like dandruff, but they cannot be terminated by shaking or brushing them off. Unless the problem is utterly serious, it is more commonplace to see nits in a kid’s hair than it is to observe live pediculosis crawling on the scalp. The eggs hatch approximately 7 to 14 days after they are deposited.

Itching and Pediculosis

Scratching is a natural response to itching, but if your youngster is continuously scratching his scalp, it’s a good idea to have a look and see if you are able to notice anything! In addition, if they notify you about “little things” running around and tickling their foreheads this is a very dependable “sign” that they may be carrying pediculosis!

It is recommended that if your child does notify you of scratching or “tickling” you can take a fine-toothed comb and “sweep” his hair from side to side, look at his hair follicles and scalp. If you do discover something, it’s crucial that you call a physician who can recommend a effective shampoo or conditioner for your kid to eliminate the pediculosis. This is unquestionably not something you would like to delay!

These might be nonprescription or prescription drugs, contingent on what treatments have already been administered. Medicated pediculosis treatments normally wipe out the pediculosis and nits, but it could take a few weeks for the itching to cease.

Many people say that pediculosis is like varicella: once they contract it, they will most likely never get it again. This just isn’t the case regrettably!

Be on the lookout for pediculosis on your children and once you do come across its signs, be sure they see a physician right away. No one should accept this for a longer length of time than necessary.

Dengue Fever is Not Confined to Africa: There is More to This Disease than Meets the Eye

Dengue fever is spreading at alarming rates, and humanitarian and health organizations from around the world are struggling to help keep it at bay.

The World Health Organization estimates that two fifths of the world population, 2.5 billion people, are at risk from dengue fever. The little known disease is currently epidemic in over 100 countries with 50 to 100 million cases estimated per year. The aedes aegypti mosquito, responsible for its spread and originally found in Africa, populates the tropics globally today.

White markings on legs and a lyre shaped marking on the center underbelly distinguishes the insect that causes dengue fever from other mosquitoes.

How does One Contract Dengue Fever?

Dengue fever, aka breakbone fever, is caused by one of four viruses spread by an aedes mosquito bite. The majority of cases occur in urban tropical and subtropical areas but cases are being reported more often in the United States. Hawaii, Texas, and states bordering the Gulf of Mexico have reported cases recently. Area maps showing infected areas can be found on the Center for Disease Control website.

Although extremely uncomfortable the initial symptoms of Dengue fever will pass within 14 days. High fever, headache, rash and body wide muscle and joint pain begin to be experienced within four to seven days of being bitten. Nausea and vomiting may or may not be present. There is no treatment for dengue fever beyond re-hydrating and rest. Blood tests to confirm its presence and liver function evaluations are sometimes ordered.

Getting Infected with Dengue Fever

Since there are four strains, a person can be infected multiple times. Due to the damage done to the liver and blood vessels, subsequent instances can result in life threatening conditions.

The more severe form of dengue fever is Dengue hemorrhagic fever. The symptoms are the same as those of the more mild form at first, but become worse after the first few days. Damage to lymph and blood vessels as well as a decrease in platelets is common in dengue hemorrhagic fever and hospitalization is needed to prevent Dengue shock syndrome.

The sudden drop in blood pressure is the life threatening quality of Dengue shock syndrome. Blood vessel leakage and heavy bleeding may be accompanied by piercing abdominal pain, repeated vomiting and disorientation. These symptoms appear after the fever has receded between the third and seventh day. If proper diagnosis and treatment is not received within 12 hours, death may occur.

Prevention primarily centers on avoiding mosquito bites. Wearing an insect repellent that contains at least a 10% concentration of DEET is best. Sunrise, sunset and early evenings are the prime feeding times for the aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads dengue fever.

The Symptoms and Treatment of Valley Fever: A Serious Fungal Infection with Common Symptoms

Valley Fever often goes undiagnosed because of the common cold symptoms it produces. If left untreated death can occur.

In the dry deserts of the world an often undiagnosed medical condition spreads through the wind infecting a wide range of unsuspecting people. This disease that can travel with the wind is called Valley Fever. This disease is caused by a fungus that lives in the soil. This fungus can thrive in warm, dry environments like the deserts of Mexico and Arizona. The fungal infection is spread into the air when the soil is disturbed like in a dust storm. Because of this, people with digging jobs and contractors are often diagnosed with this condition. Once the fungus is in the air it is inhaled into the lungs resulting in Valley Fever.

The Risks

Although Valley Fever can affect anyone, many factors can increase a person’s risk for becoming infected with this disease. People with weak immune systems are likely to be infected, especially those that suffer from HIV/AIDS. Pregnant women and diabetics have an increased risk to Valley Fever.

Ethnicity has shown to increase a person’s risk for Valley Fever. Native Americans, Mexican Americans, and African Americans have shown to have a higher chance of getting Valley Fever than others. Filipinos are also known to frequently have this infection.

Environmental factors can increase a person’s risk for Valley Fever as well. The hot deserts, like those in the Southwestern United States, have high reports of this infection. Windy environments can increase a person’s risk. Construction workers, farmers, and other outside labor jobs increase the risk of contracting this disease.

The Symptoms

Valley Fever often goes undiagnosed because the symptoms associated with it are so common to colds and flu. Although Valley Fever has cold-like symptoms it is not contagious from person to person. Symptoms usually occur after the incubation period which lasts about one to three weeks. The symptoms of this disease are fevers, dry coughs, and chest pains. A person with this disease can also experience joint pain, fatigue, and headaches. Rarely, a rash or red bumps will be visible on the body. Because these symptoms are so similar to other illnesses Valley Fever often goes undiagnosed and untreated. It is then able to spread to other areas of the body.


If Valley Fever is left untreated it can begin to infect other areas of the body. It can spread to the lymph nodes, other organs, bones, and skin. If it is left untreated for a prolonged period of time, the coverings of the brain and spinal cord can become infected.

Valley Fever can easily be diagnosed by a doctor. The doctor will ask a series of questions involving recent travel, environment conditions, and work history. Chest x-rays are used to diagnose this condition as well as blood tests. Anti-fungal medications are used to kill the infection. Frequent check ups and testing are needed to check to make sure the infection doesn’t reoccur.

What Are the Causes of Diabetes?: The Main Causes and Symptoms of Three Types of Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition that appears to be increasing each year. Its main characteristic is an inability to process sugars in the body, leading to high blood sugar levels and illness. Despite the growing number of people who have this condition, not everyone is aware of the causes of diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

There are three types of diabetes. The first is called simple type 1 diabetes. It can also be called “juvenile diabetes” and “insulin-dependent diabetes.” This is the least common type of diabetes, usually striking during childhood. Considered an autoimmune disease, type 1 diabetes is caused by the body attacking the cells of the pancreas. This organ produces the hormone insulin, which is needed to break down sugars in the blood. As the amount of insulin decreases, sugar levels increase can cause serious damage.

Type 2 Diabetes

The most common type of diabetes today is type 2 diabetes. This condition occurs when external factors cause the pancreas to create less insulin, or the body becomes resistant to it’s effects. This condition can strike at any time and is most often linked to obesity and a poor diet. Though type 1 diabetes is incurable, for some losing weight and changing their diet can stop and reverse type 2 diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes strikes women during pregnancy and generally ends as soon as they give birth. Women who face gestational diabetes, however, are at higher risks for type 2 diabetes later in life. For some women, pregnancy hormones can cause a temporary decrease in insulin product or change how the body uses insulin. Blood sugar levels will increase if not treated, causing complications with fetal development and birth.

Symptoms of Diabetes

People who are suffering from diabetes all face similar symptoms to varying degrees. Understanding what the symptoms are can make early diagnosis easier to that treatment can be had sooner. With early treatment, diabetics can reduce the among of damage their bodies suffer.

Increased hunger and thirst, frequent urination, and unexplained weight loss are the most common early signs of diabetes. Fatigue, headaches, and blurred vision are also symptoms of diabetes that many sufferers face. Rarely for some, a loss of consciousness can indicate undiagnosed diabetes.

The causes of diabetes can range from genetic traits passed down to outside factors, such as diet and lifestyle. Understanding the causes can help people make smarter choices to prevent potential diabetes in their lives.