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Is Your Swine Flu Fear Growing?

All Summer long, swine flu has made it into the headlines on a weekly, if not a daily, basis. This flu was quickly declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, not because of the number of deaths due to this strain of the virus, but because it spread worldwide with speed.

A blogger over at Newsweek wants to add a little perspective to the media coverage of H1N1. Here is some history: In 1967, the last pandemic, caused by the Hong Kong flu, killed 700,000 people. For comparison, in the US so far 447 have died from the swine flu. This round of swine flu virus is similar to a typical flu season, but even a typical flu season comes with fatalities. However, most flu deaths occur because of complications, mostly pneumonia, or due to an underlying chronic condition — diabetes being one.

See how seasonal flu deaths compare to heart disease when you


Another comparison from Newsweek: seasonal flu is responsible for one in 5000 deaths, while heart disease is responsible for one in 50 deaths per year. But you don't contract heart disease on the subway, which increases the fear factor that accompanies H1N1. That and the fact that this flu targets younger, healthier people.

As schools consider plans for closure should the need arise, and as flu vaccines are manufactured, I think we best approach the season with clear heads and clean hands. Hand washing is still considered the best defense against the flu. I say stock up on hand sanitizer now to avoid the rush when flu season hits. Is your fear level about swine flu growing?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
Wild-Magelet Wild-Magelet 8 years
Two people I know have now died from swine flu, one of whom was young, fit and healthy before contracting it, so I'm definitely not going to dismiss the possibility of further outbreaks and their potential seriousness. Cases seem to be dwindling in NZ, so it's going a bit off the radar, but I am still a bit worried about a second, worse outbreak.
insanitypepper insanitypepper 8 years
I haven't had the flu in 26 years, so I'm not too worried about catching it this year. I'm more worried about mass hysteria ensuing.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I'm not worried about getting it, but I'm worried about what things at the lab will be like when it hits. If you think about it, it's not really any worse than any other strain of the flu; it just targets a different demographic more than others. Your best bet is to wash your hands often with soap and water and to eat a diet rich in fruits, veggies, and antioxidants to build up you body's own defenses.
Liss1 Liss1 8 years
My boss had it, luckily no one else got it or will get it. He is fine now.
Advah Advah 8 years
I'm with you, Kia. I just wash my hands with soap and hot water throughout the day.
sundaygreen sundaygreen 8 years
There has been a pretty huge breakout in my town (I live in South Africa) - it spread rapidly in the university and the schools, and soon enough everyone knew someone that had "the swine". A couple of people in the country have died from complications of H1N1 - but then it was because they were already suffering from pneumonia or cancer. So, if you ask me, it's gotten SOOO much hype it's just ridiculous. Everyone that I know that have had it didn't even get special medication, they just stuck it out (they said it was like a normal/really bad flu - by the 4th day you feel okay again).
Francoisehardly Francoisehardly 8 years
No. Every time I waste time worrying about a disease nothing happens with it, but something that sounds scarier pops up.
kia kia 8 years
Great question onlysourcherry! I would love to see fitsugar do a post on this. Personally I am not a fan of hand sanitizers esp. with triclosan being found in marine mammals and water ways ( I just wash with soap and water through the day. I think the idea that bacterial infections suppress immune systems thus compromise the body's ability to fight viral infections is why so many folks use them. That is the best idea I can come up with but could be wrong.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 8 years
I'm always confused in flu season when you're advised to use hand sanitizers. If hand sanitizers kill bacteria and flus etc are viruses, then how are they doing you any good?
kia kia 8 years
I am a little worried only because I am open to the possibility of being pregnant and pregnant women are in the at-risk population for the H1N1 according to the CDC ( I am good at diligence with hand washing, good health, etc. I really hope that is enough. I know that if I get pregnant I will try not to add the stress of worrying about this on my body.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 8 years
Not worried - yet! Now if it mutates and turns out to be something like the (Spanish)flu pandemic of 1918-1919, then I will start to worry. Both the H1N1 and Spanish flu predominantly hit young, healthy individuals, which is very atypical of normal flu viruses. The Spanish flu affected about 1/3 of the world population and had up to a 20% fatality rate. I think we are overdue on a flu pandemic that has a high fatality rate. I took a graduate course in emerging diseases and it's really scary to think of what a true pandemic (with high fatality) would do to modern society.
opentypeA opentypeA 8 years
No, but my dad totally is. He has a huge tupperware downstairs full of things my parents don't even eat -- crisco, powdered milk, etc. -- in case the town gets quarantined. My mom and I make fun of him :-)
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
First I was totally paranoid, then I didn't think about it at all, and now I'm partly afraid of it and partly irritated that I hear about it every single time I turn on the news. I'll just get my flu shot(s) and deal with it like a normal flu I guess.
Advah Advah 8 years
No, actually. A few months ago when they started talking about it all the time and I didn't really know the details, I must admit I started feeling a bit paranoid. But now I don't even think about it - it's a flu. I got a terrible flu 3 winters ago that left me unable to move for about 6 days, so now I know how to deal with the winter and germs. I just treat is a normal flu or colds, take care of yourself so you don't have a weak immune system and winter shouldn't be that bad..
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