Family Flublog

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Why should we worry?

It is easy to become confused about the two types of flu in the news right now. To keep straight what we are talking about, I'll use avian flu to mean the kind that the wild birds are spreading throughout the world, which has killed a number of people. I'll use pandemic flu to mean the kind that epidemiologists worry might kill millions of people, even though that doesn't exist as I write this. We need to know what to do about both of these threats, but our actions will be very different, depending on the situation. This first post will just deal with the current threat, avian flu, but later on our concern will be how to prepare for the far more devastating pandemic flu.

Avian flu is a virus that is spread by mostly by bird saliva and droppings. We all know not to touch a dead wild bird. But unless you own poultry, your main concern will be with pet birds and wild bird feeders. The virus can live in bird droppings for many days if they are moist. As the droppings dry out, the virus can hitch a ride on dust particles in the air. What this means for you, is you need to rethink your bird feeders. Are they on the patio or near an open window?Wild birds leave droppings under the feeders and anywhere nearby they can perch. How will you keep this mess from getting on your dog's feet or your shoes and getting into the house? How can you refill your feeder without touching or breathing in this virus, which of course is invisible? How can you protect your caged bird inside the house from this virus? I have a hummingbird feeder that I bring into the sink to scrub out with hot soapy water before I refill it. That will have to change! Knowing how the virus is spread is the first step in figuring out what to do about it.


  • I don't worry because I've got wonderful in-house medical advice!

    By Anonymous Mike Townsend, at March 07, 2006  

  • Hello,
    I just happened upon your blog and it's proven to be quite interesting. I run a suncatcher website at and I have some deals you may find interesting this spring. I will return often to your blog and check out your new posts. Good luck and keep it going!

    By Blogger google nut, at April 10, 2006  

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