Alarm Over Swine Flu Exaggerated

A young man in Los Angeles, California increasingly worries with every passing day that he or his loved ones will be infected by the ever-so intimidating H1N1 Swine Flu virus.

During the week he goes to work and school with a handy miniature bottle of Purell Hand Sanitizer kept tightly in his pocket in case someone sneezes or coughs in his direction.

On the weekends, he securely secludes himself from the world and its plentiful diseases by cooping himself in his tiny apartment with a humidifier on at all times.

To insure his immaculate state of cleanliness before grabbing or touching a surface with a paper towel in his palm, he wipes it off with a disinfecting cloth to make sure that 99 percent of the germs are killed, as stated on the cloth's packaging details.

To some, Isaiah Watkins can be judged as a paranoid mysophobe whose fear of bacteria and viruses is making his mind go off the rocker.

To others, Watkins behavior seems worrisome yet justified because of his responsible attitude in ensuring his health and the health of others are not in any way endangered by the recent slew of confirmed Swine Flu cases that has spread across the country in recent weeks.

"I just want to be safe," said Watkins, a Santa Monica College student, "that's all."

Regardless of whether Watkins' actions are over the top or not, the real question people need to be asking is if this concern the nation has of the lethal flu virus is too much.

After the virus was first reported in Mexico sometime around mid-March, thus spreading to the US and other countries in the subsequent months, the amount of medical attention given to control and thus eliminate the virus has risen to some of the highest levels the world has seen in the last century.

According to the World Health Organization, "a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health," a total of 53 deaths have been confirmed, 48 of them coming from Mexico.

The five other deaths, three of which are from the US, one from Canada and another in Costa Rica, have been reported to succumb to the disease but also had other "underlying medical issues."

Watkins and millions of other germophobe victims have been wound up like a jack in the box toy; ready to spring out of the box at a moments notice when all hell breaks loose.

These people are afraid of the consequences that arise from contracting a virus of this magnitude.

What they don't realize is that this virus is no less dangerous than the common flu.

The "underlying" difference between the two, as explained by several doctors in association with the WHO organization, is that people are immune to one and not the other.

How so? When people contract a disease and subsequently become ill from it, their bodies adjust to the virus as it becomes one with their body thus providing an immunity to it in the future.

Therefore, even though people are not yet immune to the virus, as they soon will be with the progression of time, the Swine Flu should not be viewed as a worse or more severe flu than the normal one that annually kills an average of 36,000 people.

Although it's admirable to see the country caring about its citizens and its neighbors around the world, its call for attention is overblown turning a normal concern into sensationalism.

The one behind all the craziness is the Media.

Since the H1N1 virus was first reported sometime around mid-April, news outlets such as national newspapers and national to local news programs have overblown the cause for concern by stirring their audience's emotions- leading to several organizations to stop operations in fear of having the disease rapidly spread.

The hardest hit country is Mexico where, at press time, 2,282 confirmed cases have been documented with 58 of those confirmed dead.

The media needs to stop purporting information that is statistically invalid.

Even though the US is leading the list of "most confirmed" cases, with 3,139 Americans officially afflicted with the virus, there have only been three deaths with each of those persons also having some form of a respiratory or cardiovascular illness prior to the flu diagnosis, according to WHO.

When the Media will stop instilling and stirring fear in people like Watkins, then the country and the world will be better off-allowing their fears to boil down and continue on with their daily lives.

Until then, the madness will persist. One question that needs to be asked is, what are you going to do about it?

"I'm just going to wait until I get word that all is well and it's safe to go outside," Watkins said. "Until then, I feel a lot safer staying at home and staying away from all the garbage out there. I mean, like me, isn't that what you see on the news every night?"