Panic Over the Not So New Swine Flu

 By: S Porter
For several years the media has been cautiously following the possibility of a bird flu outbreak, but swine flu has beaten it to the punch. Influenza is a nasty little virus that can be deadly under the right conditions, and bird flu is a particularly bad strain that is deadly more often. No matter which strain happens to be floating around; the symptoms are the same; coughing, sneezing, aching and fever. If you have a cold, this could also describe how you feel except for the fever; which only occurs with the flu. Education is always the best way to combat fear, so knowing the facts about influenza can help ease the mind.

There are dozens of different possible flu strains that can circulate through the population at any one time. Once you get one of these strains, your body learns to produce a defense against that particular strain and you can’t get it again after your body beats it. If you could get all of them, you would never get the flu again; but only a few strains float around at once. As time passes and new people are born, old strains begin to come back and infect a whole new population with no immunity. About 2% of all the people who catch the flu will die from it due to complications like old age and compromised immune systems. The worst outbreak happened in 1918 and killed about 20% of everyone who contracted the virus, but our knowledge is far greater now than it was then.

The first thing to remember about swine flu is that it’s just another flu strain; and this isn’t the first time we have seen it. Every year doctors guess which strains will float around the population and they produce a vaccine to fight them. Swine flu wasn’t what they guessed for this year, but even last years flu vaccine seems to be partially effective in preventing people from getting this strain. It also responds very well to every type of treatment we currently use to fight influenza. All in all, less than 1% of people who catch swine flu die from it; so it’s even lighter than just a regular flu.

The last time swine flu showed up was in 1976, and just like now there was a large panic in the population because of bad information. The government spent millions of dollars on a flu vaccine that did little to help with the strain, and people were urged to get the shot for the whole family. When it was all said and done, more people had died from the vaccine than from the flu itself because the strain never swept through the population. This time around, it is more widespread and it appears to be hitting the population with a fury. A feverish, achy, take a couple days off and you will be fine fury. You may get it and you may not, but unless you are at risk from any other virus; it isn’t anything to really worry about.

If you have a fever and it rises over 102, it’s time to go get treatment; regardless of the cause of the fever itself. Health insurance or discount plans like Ameriplan will help with the cost, so don’t hesitate to go to the doctor if you find yourself in this situation. Another warning sign that you may be at risk is if the symptoms are still getting worse after the fourth day. Most people have had at least one strain of the flu in their lives, and it isn’t much fun; but the panic that is currently in the media is unfounded. Over the course of 2009 we will most likely see this strain slow down and then resurge later in the year, and some people will die from it. Given the choice though, swine flu is easier to deal with than the various other flu strains we see every other year.
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According to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 35 to 50 million people fall prey to influenza during the flu season (November to March), every year. Viral in nature, influenza is a respiratory disease that is highly contagious. In the year 1918, nearly 100 million people died in the influenza pandemic that spread across the world, including remote regions in the arctic and the pacific islands. It was the worst natural disaster the world ever saw.
A common cold is related with the condition of inflammation of the upper respiratory tract which is caused by the infection with common cold viruses. It is also known as acute coryza. In comparison to other disease the occurrence of common cold is frequent. Any person may suffer from the problem of common cold several times in a year. It generally lasts from 3-10 days. The first three days for the patients are very miserable.
While you hardly notice someone sneezing, the virus can transfer to you until you realize you already have colds. The common cold is actually most contagious since they easily spread from one individual to another. It is called this way because it is most recurring and common of all diseases.

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