Survey Indicates Obesity May Increase Swine Flu Severity

A California survey indicates that obese people are at risk of severe illness from swine flu. Complications such as pregnancy, diabetes, heart problems aggravate the effect of swine flu, giving rise to serious illness. However, now CDC researchers point out that obesity may also increase the severity of swine flu.

Swine flu or H1N1 virus, which was detected in April 2009, causes flu-like symptoms such as fever , chills, sore throat, runny nose etc. It was observed that swine flu affects  patients with diabetes and heart problems more severely. In fact, about two-thirds of the patients from California who were hospitalized for swine flu had underlying health problems. This survey indicates that obesity may also increase the severity of swine flu.

How Can Obesity Aggravate the Effect of Swine Flu?

Researchers observed that pregnant women in their third trimester are at high-risk of infection. The reason being, the fetus and the womb compress the lower portion of the lung, and this makes breathing and coughing difficult for pregnant women. A similar mechanism in obese people may make aggravate the effect of swine flu.

According to Anne Schuchat, one of the chief epidemiologists for CDC, among the severe cases of swine flu, the frequency of obese people was high. She said that researchers from CDC are considering to put obese people at high priority for swine flu treatment along with other high-risk patients. If the swine flu vaccine is available in a few months, obese people would be given priority along with other high risk patients.

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