The H1N1 flu, deemed a pandemic in April of 2009 is creating quite a ripple of fear throughout the world. We cannot take pandemics lightly, and at the same time, we should not oversell the “presumed” danger to the public.
The reason I am starting this article here is because fear does bizarre things to our immune system. Exposure to viruses and bacteria challenge our immune system, but fear makes it crazy.
Now look at how you react or respond to fear. If you feared that you were going to lose your job, would you:
A. Become so overwhelmed that:
you think the worst
your body language changes to one of defeat
your actions become one of victimization, or
B. Become so motivated that:
you think proactively
your body language becomes stronger and composed in the direction of creating a new career
your actions reflect that of empowerment
What does this have to do with the flu? How we embrace “challenges” is reflected in our overall health. This flu season is discussed with great concern because of the impending H1N1 exposures which suggests greater health risks and additional vaccines. This puts the flu season under such a microscope that it becomes magnified and unjustly so.
Look at the statistics below from the CDC that reflect influenza from August 30-Oct 17, 2009:
Total Influenza Deaths – 2,416
Swine Flu Deaths – 1,004
The Center for Disease Control website states that about 36,000 Americans die from the flu each year (www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease.htm). This statistic has become commonly accepted and widely reported in the lay and scientific press.
It’s also estimated that a third of the US population is refusing to get the Swine and Regular Flu Vaccine this year. This demonstrates how involved the public is in making decisions for their body. With the news suggesting there have been more injuries and deaths from the vaccine than the flu itself, people begin questioning the best thing to do when facing a fearful event. How you respond/react to fear will be reflected in your decisions about this flu season as well.
Reactions to fear are knee-jerks and automatic. This may give you comfort in your decision either way.