MPR listeners have been texting their questions about the swine flu outbreak and all Thing Considered medical analyst Dr. Jon Hallberg answered some of them in a conversation with MPR's Tom Crann. Hallberg answered questions about last fall's flu vaccine, the effectiveness of anti-viral medicines, the symptoms of the disease and even how to talk to children about the outbreak.
Here is Hallberg's "bottom line" advice with regard to swine flu: "If somebody gets symptoms that match those of influenza, take them seriously. Get help early. These medications work best -- really they only work -- if they're taken in the first 24 hours or so. Believe me, you will know if you're sick. So take the proper precautions."
But he cautions against over-reacting to minor ailments or seeking anti-viral medications for precautionary purposes. "One of the strongest things I can recommend is that people [with only mild symptoms] not ask their primary clinics to get medication," he said. "We should keep this for those who truly need it and not dispense it ahead of time."