Fighting the flu in the future: Medicine's next big thing?


BACKGROUND:    Body aches, fever, tiredness, sore throat, headaches, chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and cough; all symptoms of the dreaded flu.  Normally those who have the flu know it, but in some less severe cases symptoms can be similar to the common cold.  Medical attention should be sought if there are symptoms like severe vomiting, confusion, sudden dizziness, seizures, or difficulty breathing.  Children, pregnant women, seniors, people with health conditions, those who travel, and people with disabilities are at an increased risk of becoming infected with the flu.  With so many at risk, newer and better vaccinations are always in the works.  (Source:  flu.gov)

HOW TO CARE FOR ONE WITH THE FLU:  When caring for someone who is infected with the flu virus, there are certain precautions that should be followed.  First make sure the sick person follows all instructions given by their doctor and make sure they take all of their recommended medications.  Keep the sick person away from other people as much as possible, isolating them to a specific "sick room" is recommended. (Source: flu.gov)

TREATMENT:  The flu can be treated with or without medications.  Over-the-counter medications may relieve symptoms, but they will not make you less contagious.  Sometimes the health care professional may prescribe antiviral medications to prevent further complications.  Antibiotics can be prescribed if the flu has progressed to a bacterial infection (Source: flu.gov).

NEW TECHNOLOGIES FOR VACCINATIONS:  Mostof us all know about the flu, how it can make you feel, and how to prevent it.  New technology is being developed to allow vaccinations to be more effective and easily accessible.  Super computers have been designed to produce proteins from scratch that will find the weakest part of the virus and attack it.   The proteins are not a vaccine.  They are suggested to be administered after or before a flu outbreak.  However, professionals are developing a new kind of vaccination, software that will allow people to print a vaccine on a 3-D computer and then inject it on the spot to prevent the flu.  Geneticist, Craig Venter, and his team are testing the digital biological converter.  This would revolutionize healthcare and biological warfare.  For example, if an area became infected with a deadly virus and they are isolated from the rest of the world, sending a vaccination electronically would save many lives. While this is a revolutionary idea, there are dangers of spam interference and regulation. (Source: wired.com)


Dr. Tim Whitehead

Michigan State University


If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Andrew McIntosh at amcintosh@ivanhoe.com.