Tuesday, May 12, 2009  
   Volume 79 - Issue 19 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“You’re the stewards, literally, of this land. When you say Crowsnest Pass is small, no, you’re not. You’re absolutely not.”
- Don Johnson  
- on land use in the Pass   

 

A Fragile Lens- Nathen GallagherLook out! If you can read this, you may already have swine flu.
That’s a blatant exaggeration, but you might not know it looking at some news sources out there. As soon as the word “pandemic” gets out there, people start to panic a little, and a little panic always makes a good headline.
In actuality, you probably shouldn’t be too worried about human swine influenza, officially called H1N1.
The World Health Organization says that a global pandemic is imminent. When you hear the word pandemic you tend to have visions of apocalyptic, world-ending diseases that kill hundreds of millions, but “pandemic” refers to the spread of the disease, not the severity.
The so-called swine flu (it’s actually a combination of four types of flu virus, only two of which are found in pigs) is no worse than the normal flu.
If you get it, you’re going to come down with normal flu-like symptoms, including fever, a cough, and all that good stuff. You’ll be sick for up to a week or two, and you should stay home and get lots of rest. That’s it.
 
The only reason you even need to go see a doctor is if symptoms are more severe than a standard flu. People with healthy immune systems are not likely to see such symptoms.
The reason this flu is likely to cause a pandemic is because there’s a good chance it’s going to infect a lot of people across the world. As a new strain of flu we don’t have much in the way of defenses against it –– it can transfer from person to person without much to get in its way.
The best way to protect yourself from H1N1 is not to walk around with a face mask or lock yourself in your home. The best way to avoid it is the same as the best way to avoid any illness –– wash your hands before putting them anywhere near your face.
This is most important for the very young or very old, as they would be the most at risk for potentially more severe flu-like symptoms.
As of May 6, there were 165 confirmed cases of human swine influenza in Canada, including 30 in Alberta. That number is going to rise as it spreads from person to person and gets into new communities because of people travelling while they’re sick.
The best advice can be summed up in the words of the immortal Douglas Adams –– “Don’t Panic.”
Remember that even the normal flu kills 4000 people every year in Canada alone. And people don’t panic about the normal flu, do they?
... for the full story, see the May 12 issue of the Pass Herald.
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   Volume 79 - Issue 19 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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