Monday, September 7, 2009

Who's afraid of the big bad swine?

My visit home this weekend took a very unexpected turn when my friend from UTC who gave me a ride from Cleveland to Winchester (and who had been suffering from a sinus infection the past few days) was told by her doctor that she actually had swine flu.

I had been in a car with her for three hours. Medically and scientifically, there was no way I was going to be spared. So my family and I quarantined ourselves for the weekend.

Thankfully, God has blessed me with a spectacular immune system, and I did not get sick from my time with my friend.

Even though the H1N1 virus is indeed a very real thing, I think we are giving it a lot more power than it deserves by panicking at the very mention of it. In reality, most cases are actually milder than the seasonal flu that goes around each winter.

We don't need to be afraid of the swine flu; we just need to know the facts. So here are a few facts from the Center for Disease Control's Web site.

Fact: H1N1 (swine flu) is contagious. It spreads just like the seasonal flu strain we've been dealing with for years.

Fact: "Most people who have been sick have recovered without needing medical treatment."

Fact: One can help prevent the spread of H1N1 and the seasonal flu virus by taking precautions such as covering one's mouth when sneezing or coughing, washing one's hands frequently, avoiding touching one's eyes, mouth or nose, and avoiding contact with sick people.

More information about the H1N1 virus is available at

Also, something that I learned from my experience: an RN in my family assured me that if I were going to get sick, I would show symptoms in 24-48 hours.So if you find out you have been exposed to the virus, you might want to take extra precautions (drink lots of fluids, increase Vitamin C intake, try to limit social contact) during that time period to further reduce your chances of getting sick.

And, as always, praying for protection doesn't hurt, either. I feel like God gave me a supernatural flu shot this weekend!

Be smart this flu season and you'll be just fine.

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