Thursday, May 21, 2009

Again, No Need to Be Overly Concerned About Swine Flu

There’s no need to be overly concerned with this swine flu at this point, but we should be vigilant in staying healthy and minding our sanitary practices. (It may be a different story at the end of the year when we may or may not have to raise our concern-levels, but we should not be overly alarmed at this point.) However, I think closing some of the schools with potential swine flu cases is okay to do. I do not criticize the school administrators for making that decision.

Let me explain again why I am not overly concerned with this swine flu at this point. First of all, the experts are saying that this swine flu, as of now, is mild. I don’t even have to take their word for it. Look at the numbers or stats. In the 2007-2008 flu season, there were 39,287 confirmed cases of the seasonal flu in the U.S. The death rate was 0.2%. Currently, there are 5710 confirmed cases of the swine flu in the U.S. and the current death rate is 0.1%. This swine flu at this point is clearly still weaker than the seasonal flu.

My friend became scared after learning about the death of a school’s vice principal from the swine flu. It’s irrational fear. There are currently 8 deaths from the swine flu in the U.S. and many of them were widely reported in the media. However, there were 83 deaths from the seasonal flu in the 2007-2008 flu season with no media coverage. Was she scared during that flu season with all those deaths? No. Then why should she or anyone be scared of this swine flu (at this point) considering the numbers and facts.

Although this swine flu may be rapidly spreading, that's not a cause for panic. There's a difference between "widespread" and "deadly". We don't panic when a common cold virus becomes widespread because it is mild. A virus is a cause for concern if it becomes deadly. The experts at WHO and CDC are keeping watch in case this swine flu virus becomes deadly at the end of the year. A vaccine will have been produced by then.

We have no control over how strong or weak this swine flu virus may become in the next flu season. However, we can do what we can to maintain our health and fitness levels. People who have pre-existing health conditions are more likely to die from the flu than healthy people. So, we should make sure that we stay healthy and fit.

Again, I will reiterate that there’s no need for panic right now, as some people in New York are flooding the emergency rooms for small sniffles and coughs. On the other hand, if you do have true flu symptoms (such as some combination of the following: fever, uncharacteristic body aches, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, nasal congestion, and cough), go see a doctor. They’ll tell you what to do. But don’t be scared. 99.9% of people infected with the Swine Flu (in the U.S. so far) recover from it.

Consult your doctor before taking any advice from this blog.

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