Insecure Writer’s Support Group Blog Post May 3, 2017

Insecure Writers Support Group BadgeHello. This is my first post in this monthly blog. I learned about it during this year’s A to Z Challenge Blog from a couple of bloggers when they posted their entries last month on April 5.

When I signed up, I noticed quite a few blog names I recognized, some I already follow, so I’m really looking forward to being part of this. The blog is posted on the first Wednesday of the month. Each month, there’s a question to answer. This month, that question is:  What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?

Harvester sagaThe first thing I have to say is that if anyone from the government ever decided to look at my search history, they would be hauling me away in cuffs in no time. While I write many subgenres of romance, I tend to prefer romantic suspense. I’ve researched arson, hypothermia, poison, guns, homemade bombs, cults, terrorism, you name it, but probably the weirdest research I did involved the last book of The Harvester Saga, The White Iris when I researched viruses, specifically the flu virus, H1N1, the one we call the Swine flu, the one that is best remembered as the Spanish flu that killed 3 to 5 percent of the world’s population in 1918. The weirdest thing I learned was that it wasn’t the sick who succumbed to the disease, but the healthy whose bodies overproduced antibodies–cytokines and white blood cells that basically went to war with one another.  The information below is taken from Wikipedia, not because it’s the best source, but it’s the least technical and easier to understand.

It is believed that cytokine storms were responsible for the disproportionate number of healthy young adult deaths during the 1918 influenza pandemic, which killed 50 to 100 million people.[1] In this case, a healthy immune system may have been a liability rather than an asset. Preliminary research results from Hong Kong also indicated this as the probable reason for many deaths during the SARS epidemic in 2003.[8] Human deaths from the bird flu H5N1 usually involve cytokine storms as well.[9] Reports of high mortality among healthy young adults in the 2009 swine flu outbreak has led to speculation that cytokine storms could be responsible for these deaths, since the Swine Flu results from the same influenza strain as the 1918 pandemic.[10] However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has indicated that symptoms reported from this strain are similar to those of normal seasonal flu,[11] with the CDC stating that there is “insufficient information to date about clinical complications of this variant of swine-origin influenza A (H1N1) virus infection.”[11] Cytokine storm has also been implicated in hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.[12]

I’ve learned many intriguing facts in my research, but this has stayed with me. The first thing I did after my research was go and get my flu shot! Not that I’m super healthy or anything, but why take the chance? From now on, I won’t miss a year.

Please take the time to visit at least 12 of the other Insecure Authors blogging today.

 

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About mhsusannematthews

Finally retired after more than 30 years as a teacher! Now, I get to spend my time gardening, enjoying my grandchildren, and writing. I finally completed the number one item in my bucket list and Crimson Romance published my first novel, Fire Angel, in April 2013. Since then I have sold 24 other manuscripts to date and don't plan to quit writing for a long time yet.
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17 Responses to Insecure Writer’s Support Group Blog Post May 3, 2017

  1. Welcome to the IWSG family!
    So more healthy people died that sick? I didn’t know that.

  2. trishafaye says:

    The healthy people dying instead of the sick was a surprising fact. Isn’t it strange where our writing leads us?
    I learned of this group through A to Z last year. Yay A to Z! Yet I must truly be an insecure writer as this is the first month I posted in the group also.

  3. Megan Morgan says:

    WOW, that’s a fascinating bit of information! So times it doesn’t pay to be TOO healthy…

  4. Wow, that is something. Funny that this information made you get a flu shot. The first time I came across the term cytokine storm, it was in relation to adverse affects of Gardasil. I don’t remember the details though.

  5. Hart Johnson says:

    You and me both, sister (on being in trouble if our browser history is searched). I probably look like I am plotting some break in. I used the CDC as a location and researched layout and google earthed all around to try to make it realistic.

  6. I had to laugh at this: “if anyone from the government ever decided to look at my search history, they would be hauling me away in cuffs” I can so relate.

  7. Arlee Bird says:

    I guess writers would get a pass for weird search engine history.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  8. I have (without doing a lot of “weird” research) yet – worried about researching certain topics and someone down the line questioning it. Incidentally, I’ve heard about this group from my last two A to Z’s and I keep forgetting about it. This time, too. Sigh.

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