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Swine Flu Caused Permanent Lung Damage in Some

Swine flu has caused permanent pulmonary damage to some patients in Finland. In Kuopio, five people who were in intensive care with the H1N1 virus developed serious lung problems.

Laite mittaa sydämen sykettä ja happisaturaatiota. Image: YLE / Savo

Some people with these complications were basically healthy before they contracted swine flu, and were not in any risk group. For example, one healthy 40-year-old woman's lungs have been incurably damaged.

In these patients, the H1N1 virus caused viral pneumonia, which caused their lungs to fill up with liquid. When the infection recedes, the lungs can have fibrosis, or basically damaged and hardened tissue.

Kuopio's University Hospital plans to bring every swine flu patient who was treated in their pulmonary ward back for further testing. A total of 17 people were admitted to the intensive care unit during the epidemic, and 52 people ended up in the pulmonary ward.

Physicians Make Case for Flu Shot

Irma Koivula, an infectious diseases specialist at the Kuopio University Hospital, says that anyone who contracts H1N1 virus is at risk for the same kind of lung damage. She stresses how important it is to get the swine flu shot, which is being offered to everyone at public health care centres.

"The more people that get the vaccine, the fewer people will be susceptible to it and the epidemic will disappear on its own," she says.

"If a lot of people don't get vaccinated, they could get the virus again and spread the disease. Especially people they come into contact with who are in risk groups, like overweight and pregnant people, they are at a larger risk of developing serious lung damage."

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