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Your swine flu questions answered

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Dr. Kent Holtorf, with the Holtorf Medical Group answers your questions about the swine flu:

Is it possible for just one person in the household to be infected with this strand of flu? We have a family of five - three adults and two children, 2 and 6. - Tonya, Spring Lake

Yes, just like with the usual seasonal flu, one person can get it.

With me working as a cashier in a grocery store (a very busy one), what are my chances of catching this strand of flu? Are they greater or just about the same as any in the work field? And is it so that people above the age of 20 are the ones being infected more? Why if so? Thanks. - Tonya, Spring Lake

Any occupation with significant exposure to the public as well as handling money would be at increased risk. However, a single sneeze propels several hundred thousand droplets into the air at close to 100 mph for up to 12 feet, landing on door knobs, keyboards, grocery cart handles and anything in the area so just about everyone has potential significant exposure. Age risks are more associated with exposure.

I am in my early 20s and 8 months pregnant. Should pregnant women or women with newborns be more concerned about contracting the swine flu (or their babies contracting it) than the general population? I am due in June, could this still be a concern then? Should I take extra precautions even in the hospital and with my newborn? - Laura, Raleigh

Yes, extra precautions should be taken with higher risk groups, including frequent hand washing (80% of infections are spread by hands), avoid touching face and avoiding unnecessary social contact.

Will getting a flu vaccine help to prevent this strand of the virus? - Candice, Clayton

No, the current flu vaccine will not cover this strain.

What are the symptoms of swine flu? How is this virus different that the regular flu? - Smithfield

Same as the regular flu, fever, body aches, sore throat muscle pain, runny nose and cough.

We are traveling to Mexico (Riviera Maya - near Cancun) next week. Should we cancel our trip? - Hadley, Smithfield

Non-essential travel to Mexico is discouraged.

Are these kinds of mixed viral strains only made in laboratories? Pig Bird and Human combination. I have heard this strain is the first time in history ? If so why would labs combine these strains and for what purpose? It seems to me if the pharmaceuticals companies create these viruses then they only have the vaccines and therefore can potentially make huge profits. I think the FBI should investigate all these mysterious strains of viruses that have emerged and origins. - Leslie, Wilson

It is not made in the laboratory. This virus mutates very rapidly and this strain is due to the random natural mutation.

I have an artificial heart valve and was told a virus or clot could wipe it out. Would I be in a higher risk group should I catch this flu? If I am, would I be a candidate to get pre- treatment like the flu shot? - Patricia, Clayton

The shot will not be of benefit. You can use Tamiflu, Relenza or amantadine as prevention.

Can have your doctor check your immune system by checking a natural killer cell number and activity (this is the white cell particularly associated with protection from viruses), be sure your vitamin D level is greater than 80; be sure your thyroid is optimal by checking the free T3/reverse T3 ratio.

Natural ways to prevent an infection include vitamin D 5000-15,000 per day (best to check levels), zinc 50 mg/day, vitamin C 3000 mg/day, licorice root extract and miataki mushroom D-fraction. There are good combination products available (Virunex, Immunostim). Nasal colloidal silver can be very effective. It is very safe, and no virus has ever been shown to develop resistance to silver.

I have CML and am currently taking Spycel for it. Will this cause a larger or smaller chance of me getting it? - Wendy, Cary

This would put you at higher risk, see above response.

Did this swine flu show up in humans from an airborne flu that pigs carry, and the humans were in close physical contact with the pigs? Yes Or is it spread thru eating pork from an infected pig? - Odellia, Hurdle Mills

You cannot get it by eating pork.

If I, or my children were to come down with a cold, or fever tomorrow, should I assume the worse, and rush to the ER? Or should I doctor it at home for a couple of days, and see if it gets worse? How long does it take for the illness to become critical? - Odellia, Hurdle Mills

I would not rush off to the ER, but rather call your doctor.

How will the medical infrastructure protect itself while at the same time be constantly exposed to this outbreak? - Donald, Sanford

Same preventive measures.

How fast should we react? Normally if my kids get a fever I give it a few days to fight off whatever it is naturally. Does fever automatically mean doctor visit for now? Or do we need to have body aches or something else, too? - Mark, Knightdale

Would recommend that you call your doctor at the onset of symptoms, as the medications work much better if started early in the illness.

I've only heard about the swine flu over the last several days. How long has it been affecting humans? And how fast is it propagating? Obviously, this must have a higher than average mortality rate or else it wouldn't be a cause for concern. What is the estimate of that rate and how does that compare to the 'normal' flu virus and to the avian flu that we all heard about in eastern Asia a few years back? - Doug, Cary

There have been previous outbreaks in 1918 and 1976.

In 1976 we had a Swine flu scare and we were given a swine flu shot at that time, is this shot still good or if not will new ones be available. - Peter S., Willow Spring

Unlikely anytime soon due to the disastrous outcome of the last swine flu vaccine.

Is the Swine flu more deadly than the regular strains? Why are otherwise healthy young people dying from it in Mexico? - Dave, Wake Forest

It is currently unclear.

Does the normal flu vaccine cover you for the swine flu?? If not what precautionary measures can you take?- Erika, Clayton

No. Discussed above.

About Dr. Kent Holtorf
Dr. Kent Holtorf is an expert in natural bio-identical hormone replacement and optimization for women and men, endocrinology, thyroid dysfunction (difficult thyroid cases), fatigue syndromes, adrenal insufficiency, growth hormone replacement, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic infections and multiple endocrine dysfunction.

Holtorf is diplomate and a board examiner for American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine (ABAAM). As a board examiner, Dr. Holtorf is responsible for administering the oral portion of the board exam and evaluating the physicians' responses to determine if their knowledge base in endocrinology and natural hormones is high enough to receive board certification in this field.

Holtorf received his doctorate of medicine from St. Louis University with residency training at UCLA.

He has personally trained physicians across the country in the use of bio-identical hormones, hypothyroidism, complex endocrine dysfunction and innovative treatments of chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and chronic infectious diseases, including Lyme disease. He was the founding medical director and developed the protocols for Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers and other centers across the country.

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