COPD and the Flu Pandemic…

Based on the information available and on my past experience of flu with COPD, if the pandemic does materialise (and it seems inevitable), the risks seem little worse than ordinary flu. No-one outside Mexico has so far died (and the deaths there are curious – men in their thirties, mostly, rather than the vulnerable groups, like the old and the young).

Speaking personally, even ordinary flu, in the right circumstances, can kill me (and came close in January 2008), though so far it hasn’t. The worse your COPD, the greater the risk. The problem for those of us with COPD is that the risk of actually catching flu will be far higher than normal, but you can minimise the risks (I’ve covered the precautions I’ll be taking in a previous post).

I’ve ordered a small supply of N95 virus-level-filtration face masks (small because I have no intention of putting myself in harm’s way more than is absolutely necessary), which, along with disposable gloves and a lot of common sense (see previous post), will, I hope, keep me reasonably safe. There’s a debate about the efficacy of masks but, as far as I’m concerned, they’re way better than doing nothing at all.

One of the biggest dangers of flu, in COPD, is the secondary infections to which it leaves us susceptible, and swine flu will be no different in that respect. I have my own supply of antibiotics, but I would suggest that you ask your doctor for a prescription for antibiotics, get it made up and stash it in the fridge. I think it would be an unreasonable GP who wouldn’t go along with that given the present situation, given that it will lighten his workload if it all goes pear-shaped, as well it might.