The Center for Disease Control has probably had some very wild times this past decade. First SARS, then the bird fle, and now today’s potential epidemic is the swine flu. First manifesting itself in Mexico this past April, this new and terrible strain of Type A H1N1 influenza is one of those things that every microbiologist and health care professional is afraid of.
The reason for that fear is pretty simple. Like the bird flu, this particular strain crossed species. Specifically, it crossed over from the swine population, a species that has an in-built resistance to it, to the human population, a population that does not. If this spreads and becomes a full blown epidemic, the swine flu may reach the heights of the 1918 Spanish Flu, which killed fifty to a hundred million people worldwide and devastated the post-World War I generation.
The CDC has stepped up its alert levels and some governments have instituted quarantine procedures, but still more and more cases are emerging across the world. Mexico City has most of the fatalities though, with most other cases outside of city being less severe in symptoms. However, this is just a month into the outbreak and anything can still happen. With the continuing spread of the disease, let’s talk about how this affects you.
Let’s be honest here, after all that I’ve just said, there’s actually no real reason to panic. Actually, we shouldn’t panic. That’s because panic just confuses people and to deal effectively with something of this magnitude, being confused is not the state of mind you want to be in. What you really need to be is to be aware and knowledgeable about what you’re dealing with. This and quick ddecisive action is what got the world through SARS and the bird flu, and it most likely will help us make sure that the swine flu isn’t the one that kills us all.
The swine flu is pretty much like your normal human flu. It has all the same infection vectors, all the same symptoms, and all the same treatments. It’s all just heightened by a factor of two, mostly because humans haven’t any natural resistance to the disease. If you want to avoid getting infected do all the same things that you’d do to avoid getting the flu: wash your hands regularly, take your vitamins, and avoid sick people.
If you somehow get sick, it’s not the time to run around like a headless chicken. You immediately isolate yourself so you won’t infect others and observe your symptoms, all of the while taking your regular flu medicine. Note that even if it is called swine flu, it’s still a virus and antiviral drugs are pretty effective in putting a dent in the symptoms you may experience and help your immune system kick the infection out.
It your symptoms persist despite your efforts, you better start calling for a doctor. Don’t worry if it really is the swine flu – the CDC has recommended the use of antiviral inhibitors that help stop the reproduction of the disease and the sickness is definitely treatable.
Let’s all just remember that the swine flu maybe deadly, but it’s still just a disease. And the only things you need to have to beat a disease is being smart and being careful. With all the noise that the media brings up about it, that fact may get lost in the shuffle. Remember it and it may just save your life.