Maywood -- Health care experts are bracing for what is expected to be a busier than normal flu season with both the swine flu and the regular seasonal flu causing infections on a pandemic scale.
Both strains of the flu (or influenza) are highly contagious viral infections that attack the respiratory system. Most people recover in a few days, although they may experience some fatigue for several weeks after. However, for some people an infection will be a much more serious illness that requires hospitalization. In extreme cases, the flu can lead to pneumonia or death. About 36,000 Americans die and 200,000 are hospitalized from the flu each year.
The following Loyola physicians and researchers, both English- and Spanish-speaking, are available to answer questions about both strains of flu:
* Dr. Jorge Parada, head of Loyolaâs infectious disease department, can discuss the biological and epidemiology of the flu and other infectious diseases.
* Dr. Mark Cichon, head of Loyolaâs emergency medical services, can discuss the impact the flu is having on emergency rooms and the emergency preparations being made here and across the nation in case of a pandemic.
* Dr. Michael Koller, an expert in the prevention of flu and the flu vaccine, can give practical information on the flu and on the pros and cons of a nasal flu vaccine (FluMist) instead of a shot.
* Dr. Andrew Bonwit, a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases, can discuss flu in children and infants, a group that have a higher risk of developing complications.
* Dr. John Gianopoulos, chairman of Loyolaâs obstetrics and gynecology department, can discuss flu vaccination in pregnant women, another higher-risk group.
* Dr. Gregory Gruener, a neurologist, can discuss the risk of getting Guillain-Barre syndrome (a rare nervous system disorder) from seasonal or H1N1 flu shots.
* Dr. Mary Capelli-Schellpfeffer, medical director of Loyolaâs Occupational Health Department, can discuss the employment issues involved with absences from flu infections and the implications of mandatory vaccination policies.
* We also have a number of researchers and physicians who are fairly knowledgeable about animal-to-human flu transmission.
To interview a Loyola expert in swine flu and the regular seasonal flu, call Perry Drake in Media Relations, (708) 216-7940. Cell: (708) 441-7736.