I’ve been hearing a lot about swine flu for the past couple of days.
It seems to be the biggest health scare since the bird flu made the rounds and frightened everyone half to death. Bird flu is actually still making the rounds, but awareness helped fight the flu that threatened to turn into a pandemic (global epidemic).
So let me offer you a few reliable sources for information on the swine flu.
First, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. government health organization in Atlanta. As of 9 a.m. this morning, the CDC states that 20 cases of swine flu have been confirmed in the U.S. So far none of them are in our area, but they have turned up in California, Kansas, New York, Ohio and Texas, with California (7) and New York (8) having the most.
The CDC also notes that there are treatments for the swine flu, because the virus that causes it is susceptible to prescription antiviral drugs. So if someone you love is diagnosed with swine flu, remember that it is not a death sentence.
The CDC also reminds people to do the usual things to ward of flu: wash your hands, don’t touch your mouth/nose/eyes, etc.
For a more global perspective on the swine flu, check out the World Health Organization‘s page. According to the WHO, Mexico has actually confirmed fewer cases of swine flu than the United States. Whether this is because the healthcare in some of the poorer areas of the country is not good (and thus cases are not diagnosed promptly and then confirmed in a lab), or because there really aren’t that many cases, I do not know.
Either way, it’s best not to panic.
Finally, here’s Time Magazine’s article on the swine flu. It’s not as focused on the swine flu itself as it is on the idea that it may become a pandemic, which is why it is the last link I offer you this morning. It’s still early enough that I think and hope we can catch it before it becomes a pandemic, so the Time article’s focus on that is a little too heavy, in my opinion. However, the information seems to be fairly reliable and Time is a reputable publication.
This is not a good time to listen to conspiracy theorists or rely on unsourced information, so be very careful to check the source for anything you read on this topic online. There’s plenty of crazy out there, and I don’t mean the good kind where you wear underwear on your head and dance around like a doofus to Handel.