Friday, May 8, 2009

Are you at risk for swine flu?

Today an article was published claiming that two groups of people are at risk for swine flu: young, healthy people, and people with chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

Okay, let me get this straight. You're saying that the people susceptible to swine flu are 1) anyone who is healthy and 2) anyone who is not?

Translation: Everyone is at risk for swine flu! Run! Run for your lives!!!

I'm kind of tired of seeing all the panic regarding swine flu — and of course, the media is behind most of it. At least 3 or 4 swine flu-related headlines make it into the top headlines on Google every day. They just won't let it go!

So let's put this into perspective. There have been around 2,500 cases of swine flu worldwide, with 44 deaths. That's a 1.7 percent chance of dying if you get it anywhere in the world. About 1,600 of those cases have been within the U.S., but only 2 have died here — which is only a 0.1 percent chance of dying of swine flu in the U.S.

Of course, many of the non-U.S. cases have been in Mexico, where the people are poor, cleanliness is not that great, and health care sucks. So is it safe to say that, just like anything else, swine flu is more likely to kill people who don't live in reasonably clean conditions or have access to good medical care?

Yesterday when I wasn't feeling well, I mentioned it to my parents and my dad immediately asked, "Do you have a high fever? Because that Mexican flu begins with a high fever." Uh, so do tons of illnesses! Hello — that's how your body fights a virus! (For the record, I did not, and I felt much better after a nap, so I think my super high blood sugar had something to do with it.)

Seriously, people. Stop. Panicking. This isn't the 1918 influenza epidemic. Our medical industry is far too advanced for that to happen again because of a simple flu virus. Just take reasonably good care of yourself, go to the doctor if you feel sick, and don't worry so freaking much.

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