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The Swine Flu- Part 2

by Ronald A. Rowe | August 13th, 2009 | Elementary
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picAfter my recent post about the swine flu, alert reader Sean Rushforth asked what I think about the swine flu pandemic. In a word: scary. In several words, the swine flu pandemic is really, really scary. (Just to buck the system and stick it to “the Man” at the CDC, I’m going to refer to the H1N1 virus as the “swine flu” throughout this article.)

Here’s the thing about the flu. It kills people. Not just the swine flu or Spanish flu or some super flu. The plain old, garden variety flu kills a half a million people each year. Virtually all of them elderly or with some form of compromised immunity.

But the last great flu pandemic in 1918 was a different kind of story. It’s estimated that 1 out of every 3 people IN THE WHOLE WORLD were infected. At least fifty million died. The extra 49 million or so deaths were not additional elderly or sickly people. They were otherwise healthy individuals that got the Spanish flu and then… died.

Enter the swine flu of 2009. So far, there haven’t been a whole lot of deaths, at least not in global population terms. That isn’t any consolation to the families of those who have died, however. The greatly disturbing thing about the swine flu, the reason for you to pay attention, is that it is killing a disproportionate number of young and healthy people. As a parent, it is enough that you should be concerned (which is not the same as being panicked, mind you).

Not only do parents need to be alert, parents-to-be need to keep this on their radar, too. For reasons that aren’t especially clear at this point in time, pregnant women are especially susceptible to the swine flu. As if pregnancy didn’t bring enough drama as it is.

Parents – get your kids vaccinated when the vaccine actually becomes available. Potential parents – do what you need to do to protect mommy and baby before the birth. Flu season is coming soon, and I think this may be for real.

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