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Has the Internet Made the Swine Flu Epidemic Better or Worse?

Forget the water cooler, all anyone talked about this week all over my workplace was the swine flu epidemic. You'd think that reading tech blogs all day, I'd have some sort of reprieve, but that was not the case at all.

In fact, tech and the swine flu were tightly associated, from an iPhone app that tracks the flu, a website that tracks it, and a Google Maps mashup that tracks it.

What has really been weighing on my mind though — besides wondering if the cold I've been trying to get over was, in fact, swine flu — is the Internet's role in all this.

I've heard frightening stats on one of the last big flu pandemics, the "Hong Kong" pandemic in which two million people died, but I wonder — in this age of Internet, blogs, and news oversaturation, are we more well-informed about the outbreak and thus, more likely to ensure we get medical attention?

Or. . . is this overabundant amount of knowledge just turning us into stress-cases convinced we all have the swine flu, trying to get into our doctors and hospitals and thus preventing others who are actually suffering from it from getting timely treatment?


Join The Conversation
Jadis47 Jadis47 8 years
I really think technology was a big factor in slowing down the spread of the swine flu. Sure, a ton of people overreacted and assumed they had it, but those people stayed home and didn't pass it (or the regular flu/cold/fever/other disease) along to others.
macgirl macgirl 8 years
Between the H1N1 google map that shows the outbreaks and the CDC that shows that 38,000 people died of the NORMAL flu last year I'm feeling pretty A-OK about this swine flu. I feel like the TV and radio media are making it worse.
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
Better! The newspapers have gone crazy. People are reassuring each other and you can look up the actual information online. Pandemic makes it sound OMG HORRIBLE but the common cold is at pandemic level~
cherryblossom cherryblossom 8 years
Better definately because on the internet you can get both sides of the story and feel like there isnt as much to worry about because its just like any other type of flu, although god willing none of you will contract it, or anyone you know for that matter just b ecause, but on television all you get is fear mongering, and i hate that so much,
jueycruiser jueycruiser 8 years
I don't think swine flu is actually serious enough for all this attention. If it was, the technology would be helpful.
juliettemaxwell juliettemaxwell 8 years
Worse, much worse! A friend of mine who lives in Australia (she's Mexican) says that some people thought that us here in Mexico were falling dead on the streets because the media had blown everything out of proportion. It helped to spread around the news of the fact that schools and colleges were going to be closed and of the sanitary measures to take into account but I think that beyond that this was just blown waaay out of proportion.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
Worse. The media has blown it out of proportion and the internet isn't helping either with tracking apps and self diagnosis sites.
emma-noel emma-noel 8 years
i dont know but i went on the internte earlier this week and asked them what was wrong with me and like over 20 people told me i definitely had the swine flu. they wer all rathr stupid
willowdiamond willowdiamond 8 years
are you kidding? definitely worse.
amloveaffair amloveaffair 8 years
I think it's a bit of both. I don't watch the news/regular television programming anymore so I actually didn't even know about it until recently; even though I don't go to news websites either. I do think that things can get a little out of hand when EVERYONE is talking about it! You just gotta live your life normally and be extra clean!
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