Swine Flu Scare Reaches SMC

H1N1, also known as the swine flu, has built up such a reputation for fear that even Mr. T would be shaking in his boots with the thought of extracting this now infamous influenza. Recently e-mails have been sent to all students and faculty on how one should respond if you think you have any flu like symptoms. With 23 cases of swine flu confirmed in Los Angeles County as of Monday May 11, according to the Department of Public Health, and the growing number of people extracting the influenza should the students at SMC be worried over the spread of H1N1?

"I'm not afraid of it because the regular influenza kills thousands of people in the U.S a year and this flu (H1N1) has killed only a few people so far", said SMC sophomore Aaron Garcia.

There have been no confirmed cases of swine flu at SMC so far, according to the SMC Health Department, making some think that the media has blown the H1N1 influenza way out of proportion.

"I absolutely think the media has made this a think fear response, the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] has issued a non-panic warning for the swine flu," said Ph.D Rachel Kennison, Biology Professor.

"Right now is flu season and every one needs to wash their hands and take precautions for any influenza," said Professor Kennison. "Frequent hand washing, covering coughs, and having ill persons stay at home" are ways to minimize the spread of influenza, according to the CDC.

With the number of face masks and respirators selling at hardware stores you should know that the use of these can also help prevent the spread of influenza. "When close contact with others cannot be avoided, the use of facemasks or respirators in areas where transmission of H1N1 virus has been confirmed should be considered," said the CDC.

The confirmed cases of the swine flu are predicted to rise in the United States in the following months, said the Department of Public Health, "We do expect this type of flu will spread. In the U.S., the good news is that so far those with the virus have only mild or moderate symptoms," said Jonathan E. Fielding, Director of Public Health.

The pandemic phase level of the H1N1 influenza has been raised to five, which, according to the Department of Public Health, means "clusters of cases have been found in several countries around the world and that the illness is likely to spread. This does not effect the situation in Los Angeles County and does not describe the severity of illness."

With the number of cases of swine flu on the rise as are other influenza, precaution should be taken regardless of the swine flu.Right now we are in the middle of flu season. If you would like to learn more on about the H1N1 influenza you can log onto www.lapublichealth.org or www.cdc.gov for general information or what to do and where to go if you feel sick.