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Swine Flu: Be Prepared, Not Paranoid

By Rheyanne Weaver HERWriter
 
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“Stay away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing!”
“Don’t go to Mexico!”
“Don’t touch anything!”
“Put on a mask!”

We’ve all heard the numerous warnings about the swine flu and how to avoid catching it. The media has updated the public daily with new warnings, vaccine updates, deaths and regulations. But has the media gone too far? Have people in general gotten worked up over nothing? Is everyone just paranoid?

The bottom line is, people need to know how to be prepared for any type of disease or infection, but sometimes the issue gets overplayed, which can lead to paranoia. Sometimes it can even lead to annoyance. For example, Facebook has a page called “Not Panicking Over Swine Flu.”

Those who are most likely to catch the swine flu have a reason to be worried, though worrying and overreacting usually accomplish nothing, except to annoy those around and possibly cause anxiety problems.

In one Fox News article, the issue of paranoia versus preparedness was brought up. Fox stated the possibility of the government creating a quarantine, though personally I haven’t heard anything about this. Considering the swine flu doesn’t seem more deadly than the seasonal flu, a quarantine would probably be more of a move in favor of paranoia instead of preparedness. More people probably die from car crashes than the swine flu. Should bad drivers be quarantined? Besides, vaccines are coming for those who truly need it.

A Washington Post article was completely devoted to swine flu paranoia and talked about people buying hand sanitizer like crazy, wearing face masks and wrapping poles in the bus with newspapers in order to avoid touching them. OK, so maybe the bus isn’t that clean and maybe hand sanitizer is a good idea once in a while, but really? Don’t be afraid to breathe some fresh air. Maybe just stay away from that person coughing like a maniac and the pole in the bus that someone just sneezed on or that just looks discolored and sticky.

Cut the paranoia out of your life and see how horrible relaxing and forgetting about the swine flu can be. Sure, keep updated with the news, but don’t read into the paranoia and exaggeration that can be commonplace.

Add a Comment4 Comments

EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

My children received the regular flu shot today but are not going to receive the swine flu shot. In my opinion the swine flu vaccine is waay to new and has not been tested enough. I also agree that the media pumps everything up, although informative at times, too much information or bad information is spread around and not enough facts. Everyone should be prepared but not scared. We need to enjoy our lives and live.. tomorrow is not promised to anyone.

September 30, 2009 - 6:31pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Exactly! NAU in Flagstaff, AZ is supposedly "quarantining" students with cases of swine flu, and antibacterial hand sanitizer dispensers were placed on every floor of every building this summer (one in every wing of every floor!). This is ridiculous, but I suppose they want to be "prepared" for an outbreak.

September 22, 2009 - 4:20pm
Diane Porter (reply to Anonymous)

Many colleges have tried to prepare themselves for outbreaks by asking students who are ill to stay in their dorm rooms or to stay in special dorms or wings with other sick students. Honestly, I think it's just an acknowledgment of the fact that when you have thousands and thousands of young adults in classrooms and common living situations, something like a flu bug spreads even more quickly.

For those who are interested, here's an excerpt and a link to the American College Health Association's weekly and cumulative data on H1N1 on campuses:

"In this weekly period of influenza activity, a total of 7,696 new ILI cases were reported (10 hospitalizations) among campus populations totaling over 3 million. Ninety-one percent of the 267 colleges and universities reported new ILI cases, compared to 83% the prior week. The nationwide attack rate was 24.7 cases/10,000 students, 15 percent higher than the prior week’s rate."

http://www.acha.org/ILI_surveillance.cfm

September 23, 2009 - 4:59pm
Michelle King Robson Expert HERWriter

Great article, Rheyanne! I couldn't agree more. There is so much hype about the swine flu. Is this strain of flu any different then any other flu? We need to get a grip and quit scaring everyone. God bless the media...if they had something more interesting to talk about the swine flu would be yesterdays news. Bottom line...Be prepared and be smart, but don't be afraid.

Best in health,
Michelle

September 22, 2009 - 12:40pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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