Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Is this a waiting game?

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But I thought that the normal body temperature, if taken from the mouth or the armpit, is 37.7C and below. Fever starts from 37.8C up, is that right? Or did that change when H1N1 came?
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Letter from David Soh Poh Huat

IT SADDENS me when I read about H1N1 cases in the intensive care units - it seems that nothing much can be done to prevent deaths from occurring.

We have all been told to expect a peak in the number of H1N1 cases and the only thing to do seems to be to wait for the vaccine, which is expected to be available in few months. Are we playing a "waiting game" with the virus?

A member of my family recently had a temperature reading of 37.4°C and went to a clinic near our home. It was a certified Pandemic Preparedness Clinic but although the counter has a glass panel, the staff were not wearing masks and did not take the patient's temperature when she registered. The doctor she saw said she had the flu.

Over the next three or so days, my family member's temperature was between 37.1°C-37.2°C. Subsequently she revisited the clinic, where another doctor said she did not have the flu, as only a reading of 37.5°C would be considered a fever.

So are we taking H1N1 seriously or lightly? We should not just focus on people with underlying medical conditions. There is publicity about the virus on television but I feel more can be done. Maybe posters should be put up in public places and schools cautioning people what to look out for, such as what to do if one's temperature exceeds a certain range, et cetera, and when to return to the doctor if the fever persists.

H1N1 is here to stay, so besides embracing it gracefully, more needs to be done to counter it.

From TODAY, Voices – Wednesday, 29-Jul-2009