I know its been a long while since it was late breaking news, but considering the amount of people asking me about Swine flu, I might as well talk about it.
Swine flu or Influenza A Type H1N1 (H1N1A for short) as politically correct people like to call it is basically your run-in-the-mill viral influenza. Considering the amount of people who die from other types of influenza each year, this version of influenza is basically the same as the rest. It is potentially fatal to anyone who has a compromised immune system. People like the old, the really young, people who are on immune-suppressing drugs (like organ transplant patients), boyfriends who are topless in a 10 degree winter waiting to go for a shower, can be easily affected by the virus.
This is because while it's just "the flu", the genetic makeup of the virus means our body's own defenses can't recognise it easily. So it cuts through our immune system like a hot knife through butter before we can actually do anything about it. The weaker our immune system is, the more severe the infection before we can actually get better, if we can actually get better at all.
The problem is that the media does tend to overplay the seriousness of the issue. Also people do tend to be utterly ignorant towards simple things. Things we take for granted like personal hygiene and general health for instance, greatly reduces the chances that you're going to be infected. Instead, people insist on wearing surgical masks even though they don't watch their hands after they've been outside or even to the toilet while eating an unbalanced diet. Instead, we have doctors advising home quarantines for possibly exposed people…so that they may go home to their families and have them go out and possibly spread the infection instead.
It's not as much our inability to contain the matter, but the fear and ignorance of it that makes things worse. The best thing you can do, is to carry on your daily lives, but with a little bit more knowledge and awareness of your surroundings. Wash your hands after being outside and especially after being in contact with people. Take your vitamins and at least eat decent meals without skipping any.
If you're going to get sick anyway, you will, but there isn't any reason to fret either. As a general rule of the thumb, viral flu comes with it joint pains and increased weakness throughout the body compared to bacterial flu which has more yellow mucous coming out your nose Even so, it doesn't necessarily mean you have swine flu. Also, there aren't really cures for viral flu. You have to let it run its course. Antivirals like Tamiflu which is used to treat Swine flu prevent the spread of the virus in your body and leaves your immune system to deal with the rest. What you can do is to take plenty of fluids and get your much needed bedrest, and at least contact your doctor if you begin to feel the joint pains with fever.
That being said, we'll just have to let this pandemic run its course. After all, viruses are nasty little things that change a lot, very quickly. Every generation has its pandemic and this is the one of the moment. All you need to do is hang back, sit it out and wait for the next one. I'll be sure to write something about that too as soon as someone posts a funny comic about that as well.