I have to say, I am so sick of hearing about Swine Flu. I wish there was some sort of vaccination I could take that would save me from all the catastrophizing and media hype about this. This reminds me of all the SARS and Avian Flu (bird flu) garbage in the past few years. People, this is nothing to get crazy over. All of these actions that I've been seeing to help protect yourself and your loved ones from swine flu is likely just going to make things worse.
What do I mean? Well, let's look at the new additions of antibacterial wipes and Purell dispensers that are gracing the entrance of public places. This seems like a good idea but the overuse of antibacterial products is one of the things that is contributing to drug resistant strains of microorganisms. These products are helpful but you shouldn't be slathering them on all the time. Regular soap and water will do the trick. Also, it's okay to be a bit dirty sometimes, in my opinion, because it helps your body build up its immune system. Anyway, this is just one small example of a change I've noticed since the swine flu was classified as a pandemic.
I did a little bit of research and as I suspected, many more people die from influenza (aka the regular flu) yearly than have died from the Swine Flu. The symptoms for both are pretty similar and for the vast majority of people the swine flu is fairly mild. Unless you fall into one of the more vulnerable groups (very old, very young or very sick) you are probably going to be just fine. I'd like to point out that those vulnerable groups are the ones that are vulnerable to just about every illness as well, not just Swine Flu. Shouldn't we be focusing our energy on AIDS or cancer? Aren't these things bigger threats to public health and well-being? Probably but they've been covered before therefore the scare factor has worn off so the media isn't reporting on them. Until new and frightening information is gleaned (cancer is airborne!?! you can get AIDS from fast food!?!) those topics won't be making the headlines.
I can see why people are freaking out. Historically speaking, H1N1 has killed a lot of people. However, that was in 1918 and we've become more medically and hygienically advanced since then. Plus, the Spanish Flu was given a '5' on the Pandemic Severity Index and right now the Swine Flu is rated as a '1'. I think everyone really needs to chill out about this. We're a long way from here:
Before I get a bunch of comments telling me to take Swine Flu seriously, let me say this- I don't think we should ignore it. That being said, we need to be more sensible and exaggerating about it will only cause panic and panic solves nothing. I was reading an article online today that seemed to have a little bit of common sense. It's called 7 Better Ways Medicine Can Beat Back Swine Flu. Probably my favorite tip for swine flu prevention was to make sure you're getting enough Vitamin D. It's easy to do, there are no side effects involved and you are probably Vitamin D deficient anyway. You don't need a shot or a round of antibiotics, you don't have to drown your children in Purell; just use common sense. Get enough rest, eat well, exercise, take a vitamin, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and wash your hands with soap and water.
To sum it up: if you're concerned about Swine Flu I suggest you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, shut off the latest emergency Fox News bulletin and go outside to get some Vitamin D.