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Finding perspective on Swine Flu

After months of planning, I have now completed my H1N1 (Swine
Flu) Management Strategy.  Here it
is: “If I get it, I will probably feel sick for a few days until it is over.”
The End.  I just hope it works.

I know these may be my “famous last words’, but my alarm
level over H1N1 is just about nil. The flu is out there, I may get it and I may

not, but if I do, I do and I’ll take it from there.

Among some world industries there appears to be a need to
stoke panic over this impending flu season. In past years I remember watching
the nightly news and the fact the flu season was approaching was essentially
treated as “well it’s that time of year again…” You know, one of the seasonal
things like snow, gardening, camping, baseball, hockey, football, back to
school, diet time and federal elections and the like.

But the nightly news reports and daily headlines on the H1N1
flu appear to epitomize ‘the sky is falling” thinking.  A few months ago, yes the world didn’t
know what it was dealing with. But now researchers and scientists appear to be
saying the H1N1 isn’t that spectacular.

In fact, just last night, during a national news update on
the flu and another death somewhere, which is indeed unfortunate, one of the

world health observers said “the N1H1 flu doesn’t appear to be any worse than
other seasonal types of flu”….

But somehow that statement gets lost in the overall report.
And of course if we can use the word pandemic to describe it, it doesn’t just
mean the flu is spreading over a wider area of the world (which is all it
means) it is also construed as being 200 times worse than any other flu ever

The Centre for Disease Control estimates the regular
seasonal flu kills about 36,000 Americans every year and between 250,000 and
500,000 people world wide annually. Those are significant numbers to us all and
certainly to those people and families affected.

But, people die from a lot of things. Here are some figures
from the World Health Organization. 
About eight million people die worldwide annually  from high blood pressure, another five
million die from smoking-related illnesses, another four million from high
cholesterol, and nearly three million from obesity.

In the U.S. 435,000 die from smoking related diseases, about
365,000 from being overweight, 43,000 die annually in car accidents and more
than 30,000 from gun-related events. Drugs and alcohol kill more than 20,000
people a year.

The point of all this is that the N1H1 flu has to be kept in
perspective. There are a lot of people dropping like flies around us (the world
community) every year/every day and it largely goes unnoticed.  I don’t think the Swine Flu is any more
serious than many diseases, and a lot less of a societal issue than many
others. More than anything it is a hot topic to report on during a slow news


About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.



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