Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Community News

August 28, 2012

PV Doctor urges awareness for Swine Flu, West Nile

Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — Awareness and preparation are two areas of focus one can use to prevent just about any form of illness and one area doctor is offering insight on two lesser known viruses.

Though Garvin County is far from inundated with either the Swine Flu or The West Nile Virus, upcoming fall activities has created need of watch for the former and the first reported case of the latter in Pauls Valley recently convinced area physician Dr. Dennis Whitehouse to at least bring the topic up for discussion. Methods of prevention for both are relatively simple with good hygiene being key for any form of influenza and removing standing water around the home or spraying on repellent is helpful in reducing mosquito populations.

“It just shows it’s in Garvin County,” said Whitehouse, noting how there’s a lot more attention given to mosquito carried West Nile this year helping to raise awareness better. “There’s certainly a lot more cases than there has been in the past.”

Either virus is going to have the most impact on the elderly or the very young and sharing with one’s doctor the symptoms early can help in treatment, said Whitehouse. Both can resemble other flu symptoms like fever or nausea, though mosquito bites and sore muscles makes the Nile virus stand out.

The patient Whitehouse identified with the virus is actually doing fine and is being monitored to make sure everything remains that way. There has been some deaths elsewhere in the country and about half who catch West Nile end up being hospitalized.

“We get a lot of mosquito bites as is,” said Whitehouse, adding that many people do fight it off on their own without showing more advanced stages, which can include convulsions or encephalitis.

A big factor drawing Whitehouse’s interest for the swine flu, known as H3N2 this time, was the recent discovery that a majority of the recent cases for the latest strain around the country were young people under the age of 18 who work with hogs during livestock shows. Even though Oklahoma has yet to report a case, Pauls Valley is set to host the Garvin County Fair in a couple of weeks with livestock judging being one of the premiere events and he felt it was at least worth a word of caution.

“I have quite a bit of concern because we have so many kids in Garvin County who show pigs,” said Whitehouse.

In any case, since neither virus currently has a vaccine it is better to be safe and check with your doctor if you start showing symptoms for either, said Whitehouse. He also urges people to consider getting the latest round of flu shots starting in September before the next regular flu season gets going.

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