don’t panic.

Seriously. Panicking and making noises about the end of the world never helped anyone. The fact is that, although there have been deaths in Mexico, there have not been any in the U.S. At least, not at the time of this posting. If anyone in the States does die because of the Swine Flu, my guess is it’s going to be an elderly person or someone with a weak immune system (e.g. very young children, those with pre-existing conditions).

Feel free to view the H1N1 Swine Flu map to get an idea of where the outbreaks are occurring. Please note that although there are confirmed cases in the U.S., there are only 64 lab tested confirmations in California, Kansas, New York City, Ohio and Texas (CDC – Swine Flu) as of 11 am PST 4/28/09. So take the map with a grain of salt.

Here are some facts about the swine flu:

  • you can catch swine flu from a pig but it is extremely rare since cross-species infection just doesn’t happen that often
  • you cannot get swine flu from eating pork since cooking the meat kills the virus if the pork had been infected in the first place
  • basic hygienic practices like washing your hands and avoiding infected animals or people help keep you healthy

Symptoms are pretty typical of the flu:

  • fever
  • coughing
  • sore throat
  • body and head aches
  • chills
  • fatigue
  • some have diarrhea and vomiting

Personally, if I was that sick I’d be heading to the doctor anyway. According to the CDC, “The swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is susceptible to the prescription antiviral drugs oseltamivir and zanamivir.” Good news but I bet the doctor would prescribe them anyway.

So, stop sitting at home anxiously awaiting the Grim Reaper. If you’re so concerned about catching the flu, any flu, use a hand sanitizer, stay away from obviously ill people, and wash your hands frequently. Sheesh. It’s not like the CDC has come up with any new ideas on how to not catch the flu. Use common sense and you’ll be fine.