Today, I received a letter from my daughter’s school principle addressing concerns about the much publicized and seemingly little understood Swine Flu.
“Although we are all concerned about the Swine Flu, we ask our families to remain calm, as no cases of the Swine Flu have been reported in (our) County at this time.” The PDF letter stated in closing. I just tilted my head and sighed.
Panicky parents can’t really be faulted at the moment I suppose, because after being inundated with televised images of mask-wearing Mexican residents, and the media frenzy whipping up hysteria like a meringue, about the flu and the constant count of the people who have contracted it. As I am writing this, it is reported that there have been 10 cases found in California; two in Kansas; 45 in New York City; one in Ohio; and six in Texas. Out of the 306 million US residents, 64 people have this strain of flu.
While Mexico speculates 149 deaths caused by the Swine Flu, none have been confirmed for the US – yet. There is an investigation for two Los Angeles area deaths, as authorities believe it may be linked to the virus. This information peaked my interest and I became interested in how many deaths were caused by last season’s flu. So I went to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and this is what they said:
“Exact numbers of how many people died from flu this season cannot be determined. Flu-associated deaths (which have laboratory confirmed influenza), are only a nationally notifiable condition among children; however not all pediatric influenza deaths may be detected and reported and there is no requirement to report adult deaths from influenza. In addition, many people who die from flu complications are not tested, or they seek medical care later in their illness when flu can no longer be detected from respiratory samples. However, CDC tracks pneumonia and influenza (P&I) deaths through the 122 Cities Mortality Reporting System. This system collects information each week on the total number of death certificates filed in each of the 122 participating cities and the number of death certificates with pneumonia or influenza listed as a cause of death. The 122 Cities Mortality Reporting system helps gauge the severity of a flu season compared with other years. However, only a proportion of all P&I deaths are influenza-related and, as noted, most flu deaths are not lab confirmed. Thus, this system does not allow for an estimation of the number of deaths, only the relative severity among different influenza seasons. For the 2007-08 season, the proportion of deaths due to pneumonia and influenza was higher than the previous two years, but was similar to the 2004-05 season.”
Let’s use our logical minds for a sec and think about the effects this frenzy will cause. I’m not saying to ignore what’s going on or stop washing your hands or covering your mouth when you cough and sneeze like they recommend ( WHICH YOU SHOULD BE DOING ANYWAY). All I’m asking, is for us all to take a deep breath – even if you’re wearing a mask, keep an eye on what’s going on, and stop freaking out because that’s what they WANT you to do. Take care of yourself.