We Can All Take a Chill Pill: The Truth About Swine Flu


Published: September 24, 2009

Poor Pigs!

They have been falsely accused! This new strain of H1N1, a.k.a. swine flu, is not infecting pigs and has never been seen in pigs. It was initially categorized as “swine flu” because the virus contained many similar genes to the virus that infected swine, but after further testing it was proven that this outbreak is a new strain never before seen in pigs.

This particular strain of flu is a combination of human, pig and avian viruses.

Many people want the media to stop calling it the swine flu because it’s hurting pig farmers. (China refuses to import American pork!)

That being said, you cannot contract swine flu from eating pork products, so keep the bacon and eggs a-fryin’!

Why is Everyone Freaking Out?

It’s important to remember that of every 1000 cases of swine flu, about 1 person dies. These statistics are similar to the regular old flu that we’ve all been getting for years.

The swine flu has been labeled a “pandemic,” not because of the level of danger it poses, but because of its widespread nature. A virus is labeled as a pandemic when it is resistant to current vaccines and can be easily passed from human to human.

The majority of people infected with swine flu make a full recovery without medical attention or antiviral drugs; it is even possible to have swine flu and not even feel sick

The reason for the mass chaos? The unknown. Since this version of H1N1 has never been seen before, and spreads from human to human, it is especially threatening because no one has immunity to it.

There’s also no cure. Tamaflu has been prescribed to lessen symptoms for those who have underlying health conditions, but the virus is resistant to antibiotics, meaning the infected have to let it run its course.

Then What is it?

Influenza A (H1N1) is a new influenza virus, which is more commonly known as swine flu.

The symptoms of swine flu are similar to that of the regular influenza, including vomiting, diarrhea, fever, sore throat, headache, cough and muscle aches.

People ages 5-24 are at the highest risk for contracting swine flu. Medical experts have decided this is most likely because the older generation developed some sort of resistance when our country experienced a similar flu outbreak in 1976.

36,000 Americans die each year from the ordinary flu. So far, H1N1 has been responsible for 2,467 deaths in the last 5 months (according to WHO statistics). If it continues at this rate, approximately 5000 deaths will have resulted in a year, which would have the common flu emerging with the higher death toll.

What Should FCLC Students Do?

The only prevention is to keep bacteria away! That means hand sanitizer is your new best friend and the nail biting habit has got to go. (And no need to put facemasks on your shopping list, they are designed to keep your germs in, not to keep other people’s germs out).

Who would have known that you learned how to prevent swine flu in kindergarten? Wash hands frequently, disinfect surfaces such as doorknobs and countertops and cover your mouth when coughing.

Most cases recorded have been mild, the virus carries a higher risk for people with fragile immune systems (i.e. infants, the elderly, pregnant women, and people who have immune deficiency diseases such as HIV and AIDS). The majority of FCLC students are able to recover the good old fashioned way: mom’s homemade soup and a bowl by your bedside “just to be safe.”

The only way to be diagnosed is to have a respiratory lab test. If your symptoms include chest or abdominal pains, trouble breathing, dizziness, confusion, or continuous vomiting, you should be calling the health center A.S.A.P!