Can swine flu jump?
October 28, 2009 2:04 PM   Subscribe

I have a meeting shortly with someone who will have just come from her sister's bedside; the sister has the swine flu. I am pregnant and wondering if I am being overly cautious to want to cancel. Thoughts?

It is a tutoring session and therefore is worth some money to me, but obviously I don't want to risk anything. I can't judge if I am being paranoid. What are the chances of infected person A infecting person B who then immediately passes it on to person C? FWIW, my student lives part-time with this sister and so she (and I) may have already been exposed. We sometimes (like last week) meet in the house of the swiney sister, and sometimes (this week) meet elsewhere. The sister was diagnosed Monday.
posted by pipti to Health & Fitness (17 answers total)
I'm a big fan of the notion that you should do what makes you feel comfortable. If canceling makes you feel comfortable go for it.

I don't think anyone here can give you an objective answer about the likelihood of you contracting the disease.
posted by dfriedman at 2:06 PM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]

I don't think you're being overly cautious at all. My wife is 21 weeks pregnant and I would advise her to reschedule. If your friend is a good one, she will understand.

If you do decide to meet, be sure to forgo any hugs or hand contact. You don't want to be one of "those" people, but there's no reason to take any risks, either.
posted by jeffrygardner at 2:06 PM on October 28, 2009

posted by bottlebrushtree at 2:12 PM on October 28, 2009

posted by maniactown at 2:12 PM on October 28, 2009

I would cancel.
posted by pointless_incessant_barking at 2:15 PM on October 28, 2009

It's not worth the risk. Cancel.
posted by debbie_ann at 2:20 PM on October 28, 2009

I'd cancel. Think of the children!

Then again, if you are not quarantining yourself, you are just as likely to be in contact with someone you don't know who may have been exposed to the virus. I just came back from a wedding where a cute little girl was handing out flowers and proudly announcing that she had just had a mild case of the swine flu. I'm not oinking yet, but if I start I'm suing that little waif.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:22 PM on October 28, 2009

I would absolutely cancel. And don't feel weird or bad about protecting yourself and your soon-to-be-little-person. (I have two enormous events in my life coming up - a surgery and a PhD defense - and while I'm not buying into the hysteria about swine flu, I also really cannot afford to be sick. So I'm canceling events right and left and being the anal person about hand sanitizer and not taking public transit if I can possibly help it.) Your pregnancy tops my event list by a mile.
posted by meerkatty at 2:22 PM on October 28, 2009

Nthing cancel. You can always make up the tutoring session when the sister gets better. Why risk it?
posted by cgg at 2:25 PM on October 28, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the advice. I called and canceled; the mother said the sister was no longer contagious, but that she totally understood why I wanted to skip this meeting.
posted by pipti at 2:26 PM on October 28, 2009

The CDC info might help you.

From a quick skim, it looks like that the most likely way to catch it is with an encounter with a currently infected person. The virus can also live on a hard surface for two to eight hours.
The CDC does recommend that a person visiting someone with swine flu wear a mask, but also be aware that masks aren't 100% effective.

If it were me, I would cancel. But you should do what makes you feel comfortable.
posted by magstheaxe at 2:33 PM on October 28, 2009

I think you did the right thing. Pregnant women are high risk, so why take the chance. You may have already been exposed, you may meet someone else who is carrying, lots of things are possible, but all we can do is try and control the known risks. I think it would be overly cautious for any non-pregnant healthy adult, but you are right to think of your little one first.
posted by Joh at 3:46 PM on October 28, 2009

IANAD, but I heard this directly from a nurse: women in their third trimester are the most at risk from swine flu. As in, it is the most deadly then. But you cancelled already, so that is good. Who wants to be sick while she is pregnant, no matter what trimester?
posted by molasses at 4:11 PM on October 28, 2009

Cancel. You are in the high risk group. Young women like you, with no underlying medical conditions, can die from this virus. Others it does not affect much at all. Not worth the risk.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 4:57 PM on October 28, 2009

Definitely cancel. Why would you expose yourself to a known risk, when you're in a high-risk category?
posted by Miko at 5:20 PM on October 28, 2009

In the future, is there an alternate tutoring method that would work, such as over the phone or using videoconference software like LiveMeeting/NetMeeting?
posted by 2xplor at 9:43 PM on October 28, 2009

Response by poster: 2xplor: I wish--but it's "homework help," which means I mostly sit next to her while she reads packets from her history teacher, and then we discuss/take notes. There's no way for me to get these things ahead of time, or to read them along with her unless I'm reading over her shoulder. Thanks for advice. Can't wait for vaccine!
posted by pipti at 12:40 PM on October 29, 2009

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