Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Don't panic over Swine Flu "Pandemic"

Since I was mostly out-of-pocket this weekend, I was unable to post. But it was interesting to watch on my iPhone's browser as the swine flu repots swelled from concern to panic to pandemic in about 72 hours. Currently, the latest news/rumor is that the World Health Organization is ready to declare the Mexican swine flu to be a pandemic. Why, exactly, it is a "pandemic" at this point is unclear, since the spread appears to be moderate.

The WHO raised its pandemic alert level for the swine flu virus to phase 4, indicating a significantly increased risk of a pandemic, a global outbreak of a serious disease.

The last such outbreak, a "Hong Kong" flu pandemic in 1968, killed about 1 million people.

Although the new flu strain has so far killed people only in Mexico, there were more than 40 confirmed cases in the United States, including 20 at a New York City school where eight cases were already identified.
At this point, the unique point about this flu is that there is no vaccine for it. Therefore, your best strategies to avoid infection are the usual ones: (1) try to stay healthy - eat well, get plenty of sleep, (2) avoid people who are known to be sick with the flu, and (3) if you are sick, try to stay home rather than "working through it" in the office, which is likely to spread the virus farther. People are making much of the fact that 149 people have died from the disease, but remember that millions die annually from the flu despite vaccines, and most of those are because people were already in a weakened condition.

Fight the panic with facts, and take care of yourself. Those are your best bets.


"Nick" said...

As BowHunter commented to me the, this is being categorized as a pandemic to save Janet Napolitano's job...

shadowmom1 said...

Although it can still grow, this is so overblown that it makes everyone involved with tracking it and making decisions about it look silly.

Don't forget to keep washing your hands, too!