by Amy Tjaden News Editor

With all the talk about swine flu, I thought I should take minute to address the issue.
This appears to be a spooky situation. However, I feel the media has escalated the situation with their twisting, stretching and even omission of facts. I’m not saying we shouldn’t take precautions but I don’t think it is time to panic.

I’ll admit that on Sunday as I looked over our schedule of homeschooling events for the week, I started to question whether or not we should attend. We had music lessons, a science class, a field trip, a piano recital and basketball. I came close to canceling everything except for the recital. I decided to do some quick research first.

Here are some things I found out. First of all, the word “pandemic” may sound catastrophic but isn’t necessarily so. A flu pandemic means a new strain of the flu is infecting people in more than one region of the world at a time. A pandemic can be mild, moderate or severe. It is not a reason to panic.

The swine flu is not new. It is simply a strain of flu with a rather unpleasant name. But it is still the flu. Most people who have contracted the swine flu have recovered. Most haven’t even had to be hospitalized. Those who have died either did not have access to good health care, didn’t seek care in time, or had compromised immune systems.

The flu is spreading, as the flu tends to do. But we’re talking hundreds of people out of how many millions? Plus, I read a statistic that says 36,000 people die from the flu, on average, each year. That is tens of thousands every year. So, why this sudden panic?

Call me cynical, but I feel there are other agendas at work here. I’m less horrified about the flu and more bothered by the way the media does their business. It isn’t enough to practice straight reporting. No. It is better to put a spin on it and turn a minor matter into a major panic. It frightens people and sells papers.

I decided not to cancel any of our plans for this week. We have attended all music lessons, a very awesome field trip, and will finish off the week with a botany class/birthday party, a piano recital and basketball. While I’m not letting this flu hysteria stop us, we are still taking precautions.

The CDC recommends the following:
*Avoid close contact with people who are sick
*Stay home from work, school and errands when you are sick
*Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you are coughing or sneezing
*Wash your hands often
*Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
*Get plenty of rest, be active, manage stress, drink lots of fluids and eat a healthy diet

Copyright 2009

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