Doctors dealing with swine flu have to dance between informing the world so people can protect themselves and causing people to visit doctors for anxiety attacks instead of the flu.
Despite the rising numbers, many public health experts say they aren’t too worried for now. The following are doctors’ top reasons why the public shouldn’t panic about the swine flu (yet).
Reason 1: The Low Numbers…For Now – Right now, it is just a handful of cases. It is spreading but it’s still quite early. On April 27th, the CDC reported 42 confirmed cases in the United States, a country with more than 300 million uninfected people.
Reason 2: How Deadly Swine Flu May Be. – Doctors worry most about children, the elderly and others with weak immune systems during a flu outbreak. While that still holds true with swine flu, those who study outbreaks say that A(H1N1) isn’t the deadliest strain out there. Currently, in Mexico, if all of the fatalities that have been reported turn out to be caused by swine flu, the fatality rate is about 10%. And a majority of those cases have not yet confirmed as swine flu as the cause. Compared to bird flu, this rate is relatively mild.
Reason 3: Tamiflu – Although doctors don’t have a vaccine for the new strain of swine flu, there is hope in our medical arsenal. Tamiflu can subdue many flu infections if taken within 48 hours of the first symptoms. But do NOT take this flu medication without a prescription — especially if you have not had any symptoms. If enough people take it, the virus will become resistant and the medicine will become ineffective.
Reason 4: Governments, Scientists Have Learned their lessons – Although it scares most people that swine flu cases are popping up all over the globe, it shows governments aren’t trying to cover this up. Honest swine flu reporting will help limit this potential pandemic. Work on developing a vaccine for this flu is already underway and the Centers for Disease Control, the federal government, the World Health Organization all have this on their radar screen.
Reason 5: Watch Out Flu, It’s Springtime – Based on his past experience with the bird flu and SARS, most infections decline in the summer months. If swine flu follows suit, then there are good signs a pandemic has been avoided.