Truckers Urged to Use Caution as Swine Flu Cases Rise

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Wed, 04/29/2009 - 1:06pm.

While some truckers say they aren't worried about human swine flu, a doctor who specializes in providing health care services for truckers said his clinics' staff is on "high alert" to assist truckers who exhibit some of the disease's main symptoms.

Dr. John McElligott told Land Line Now on Sirius XM that truckers are at risk for contracting swine flu and that education is the key to preventing the spread of this disease.

"Our concern and the reason we put PDMD on high alert is that we're the only thing out there for a trucker on the road," he said. "From a physician's standpoint, it's something we have to pay attention to, to get prepared for, which we're doing. And the rest is education, education, education."

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the swine flu outbreak has sickened 64 people in five U.S. states as of midday on Tuesday, April 28. At least 149 people in Mexico have died from swine flu, with an estimated 2,000 more sickened there. Click here for more information from the CDC on the swine flu outbreak.

There have been previous swine flu outbreaks before, but McElligott said this outbreak is a little different because "it's got a new little twist in it genetically, but we don't really know what the significant of that is yet."

"The swine flu … can be anything from a very simple infection if you've got a good immune system, or it can be very devastating," McElligott said.

Since receiving news of the swine flu outbreak, McElligott said he and his staff have been busy trying to call everyone they have seen in the past couple of weeks who may have had an upper respiratory infection or a fever "to make sure they are OK."

What truckers shouldn't do is ignore the warning signs because swine flu can worsen if untreated, McElligott said. He said those in the U.S. who have come down with swine flu have responded well to the antiviral drug known as Tamiflu.

He describes the early signs of swine flu as similar to those of coming down with a cold.

"It can be fever, aches, fatigue, and just a general feeling of not being well," he said. He explained that it can progress in two days from you feeling just a little under the weather to being very serious. So get to a doctor and tell them that you are a trucker and tell them what your symptoms are," he said. 

Click here to find a PDMD clinic or to call a staff member at one of the clinics.

One OOIDA life member said he is concerned about increased health risks for some U.S. truckers who haul drop and hook trailers from Mexico. While McElligott said he understands truckers have to earn a living, which may put them in contact with those that have been infected with swine flu, his advice is to use general hygiene principles to avoid possible contamination.

"If you see somebody that's sick, stay away from them, wash your hands and don't touch surfaces or water or people who have been in there washing their hands," he said.

Clarissa Kell-Holland - April 28, 2009 - source LandlineMagazine

Terry Scruton contributed to this report.

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Wed, 04/29/2009 - 1:06pm.