Pigs May Flu

Posted Friday, May 29, 2009, 3:51 PM

I do not have the Flu. I have never had influenza, as far as I can recall. The worst I've had is a severe feverish cold for a couple of days. Some people call that level of affliction "flu" but it's not consistent with the symptoms of true influenza, so I don't believe that it was.

Many people get a dose of flu shots, which I believe are free, in the impression that will help them not catch the flu. Maybe that's true, though they often seem to suffer a week of squirty aches and pains each year anyway, so I'm not so certain it really helps them. As far as I can tell the shots only cover the "current strain" of the flu, so if it has mutated by the time it hits you, you're out of luck.

People can die of influenza. Tens of thousands do so every year, even in first world countries. This isn't a rare and exotic, tropically based, racially targeted, ancient disease that has a 100% cure rate; it's still a serious danger to our lives. But you very rarely hear much about that, unlike cancer, or HIV, or Parkinson's Disease, it seems to be a quiet killer. Mostly that's because it's not the influenza itself that kills you, but the resultant effect it has on other weaknesses of the body you may already suffer from, such as pneumonia, heart troubles, or asthma.

Until, that is, the scientific and medical world goes a little bit bananas and causes a worldwide panic over something that really shouldn't be a big deal, by crying wolf over a Swine Flu pandemic.

If we were never told about Swine Flu, which is equally as curable as any other flu virus, and people just figured they were experiencing regular influenza, then life would go on as normal. There is no logical reason for the specifics, or the word "pandemic", to confuse and worry the population at large.

Causing worldwide panic is not helping. Raising the level of "severity" of the pandemic has particularly confused people. Firstly, do you know what the difference is between a pandemic, and an epidemic? An epidemic is spread through a smaller populated area, while a pandemic is spread across the world. The "severity" of a pandemic is not because the disease is getting any worse, it's because it has spread wider across the world.

Here's the thing: If you are unwell, don't panic. Visit your local Doctor or Emergency Room, and they will prescribe a treatment. It doesn't matter what exotic strain of influenza it turns out to be, there will be a vaccine made available, and it will more than likely successfully treat the illness.

Now will you please shut up about it so I can go back to ignoring the daily News.

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