This is a new term for me but apparently I missed the memo that had to do with a cytokine storm and the flu.
Actually the cytokine storm has more to do with health and seemingly healthy people dying of illnesses that their immune system should be able to fight but it is being brought up with the deaths of the H1N1 virus and it first came up with trying to figure out why so many seemingly healthy people died (maybe 100 million) from the H1N1 virus back in 1918.
A cytokine storm is when your body is overwhelmed by it’s fighting of a virus. One of the things that will happen when you get some kind of virus or infection is that your body will fight it with it’s immune system. What will happen is that your body will fight and you will get a fever and then everything is good and your body goes back to normal.
During a cytokine storm what will happen is that your body will overfight the virus and in essense your immune system will go into overdrive and this will end up killing you.
Cytokine Storm and Ebola
Ebola has a nasty reputation for the way it damages the body. It’s rightfully earned.
“At the end stage of the disease, you have small leaks in blood vessels,” says Thomas Geisbert, an immunologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. “You end up with essentially no blood pressure. Your body temperature drops and you go into shock.”
The storm also triggers a big release of nitric oxide, which thins out the blood and damages vessels further.
All these factors combine together to reduce blood pressure to dangerous levels, Geisbert says. “So you don’t die of blood loss, but from something similar to severe septic shock.”
Cytokine Storm and the Flu
This is the hypothesis that is being used to explain why seemingly healthy people can die of the H1N1 virus while people that are very yound or very old and have a weaker immune system seem to be able to fight it off. This idea as I said is really new to me but of course as we all try to have a strong immune system we try to do this to make sure we can fight off sickness not thinking at all that this may work against us.
Time will tell if this is really the truth. There has bee na lot of interest in medical circles lately about cytokine storm and whether this is really killing people or not as it does not seem to happen otherwise to people in any other situation.
As you know I am not a doctor, I see these stories and it makes me wonder whether I am doing all I can to avoid the flu or even to minimize the affects of getting a flu, and again I have the same question that everyone seems to be asking each other lately when it comes to the H1N1 flu.
Are you going to be getting a flu shot?