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Did you notice how there was a lull in what was reported in mainstream media about the H1N1 or Swine Flu in recent weeks? In the past few days, however, there has been a flurry of news articles related to the flu, approximations about possible scenarios with the flu in the United States and more information about the flu as it strikes around the world. There has been particular attention to the countries which are facing winter or just coming out of winter at this time of the year.

Perhaps I have been married to a paranoid man for too many years and it is beginning to rub off but I have to say that the recent news is rather scary. Projections from the US government are anticipating that approximately half of the population will contract the flu and 90,000 will die from it. Okay, that might seem horrific to some and not so bad to others. Perspective. What scares me is the information released today from the WHO which is touting that the flu is hitting those who are young or otherwise healthy and going directly into the lungs. This is counter to the demographic that traditional flu strikes. This scares me since I have a husband and a son who both suffer from asthma so they already have respiratory problems and a virus that is pretty much bee-lining for the lungs scares the crap out of me. The statistics released that most of those individuals are requiring intensive care unit attention in the hospitals in these countries is even scarier. ICU is reserved for the sickest of the sick. The ones that need the one-on-one monitoring that goes with the unit. This is very frightening to hear.

“Data continue to show that certain medical conditions increase the risk of severe and fatal illness. These include respiratory disease, notably asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and immunosuppression,” WHO said.

The figure of 90,000 US deaths is rather startling since it is more than double the national figures for deaths from regular seasonal flu. While certainly not the Black Death, the swine flu seems to be of concern, more than not.  The CDC was quick to maintain that the quote of 90,000 deaths was a worse case scenario projection…blah, blah, blah, but one has to wonder if the government was doing some backpaddling there to avoid hysteria.  Feedback?

Here’s a link to an article from BBC about the health connection between zebrafish and humans as it relates to asthma. Evidently, whenever both humans and these fish experience a tissue injury the body sends hydrogen peroxide to the area which is a signal for the white blood cells to come to the rescue and perform their healing magic. As referred to in the article, the studies seem to indicate that

In the human body, hydrogen peroxide is produced primarily in three places – the lung, gut and thyroid gland.

Professor Mitchison said: “Perhaps in conditions like asthma, the lung epithelia is producing too much hydrogen peroxide because it’s chronically irritated, which, if our findings translate to humans, would explain inappropriate levels of white blood cells.

“This is certainly a question worth pursuing.”

Dr Leslie Knapp, of the University of Cambridge, said: “Although hydrogen peroxide is routinely used for wound cleaning and prevention of infection, some laboratory-based studies suggest that hydrogen peroxide can have a negative effect on the healing process by interfering with the activities of cells that form connective tissue.

“This new study, involving a living organism, could provide new insight on immune function and the causes of various inflammatory diseases in humans.”

Dr Elaine Vickers, of the charity Asthma UK, said hydrogen peroxide levels did appear to be higher in the lungs of people with asthma, but it was not clear why.

“We welcome any research that increases our understanding of the role that hydrogen peroxide plays in the body.

“This could shed light on the causes of asthma symptoms and potentially lead to new avenues for creating future asthma treatments.”

Interesting, especially when you live with two people who are asthmatic.  Who would have thought that people and fish are so similar.

Easter Sunday was a nice day, although we all felt rather miserable. Tom, I and Timmy have colds, except theirs is making its way into the chest for Tom and won’t leave the chest for Tim. Since both of them have asthma, it is always a concern. Add to it, the fact that the stuff from our bedroom is everywhere and that room is still torn apart. With both of us not highly motivated, I’m surprised that we’ve gotten as much accomplished as we did.

I’ll post pictures soon as things progress, but we are muddling through slowly. I know the end result will be worth it, I was just happy to be able to get into our master bathroom again to take a shower without plastic, paint cans and assorted other home improvement related things lying around. Tonight, we were hoping to sleep in our room, in our bed, since the couches are getting old, but as I write this it’s 7:45 and there is much to do, including dinner.  Good thing no one has school this week, we can at least live haphazardly with meals and there’s no homework/project pressure.

Evilwife on the move

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There have to be 5 things even on a really bad day.

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