LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Headline was awful
November 9, 2009 · 11:58 AM
To the editor:
I find myself unable to resist writing in response to the Record’s absurd headline on Oct. 31 proclaiming “Island County hammered hard by H1N1 flu virus.” Since when does the Record buy into fear-mongering? Don’t you know that fear creates stress which creates a reduction in immune response that makes one more susceptible to any virus?
There is not one noted shred of evidence that backs up this headline. Yes, this is a bad flu season with lots of kids sick and absent from classes. But the absurdity of this headline is that there is no H1N1 swine flu screening for the general or even sick Island County population! In fact, the Center for Disease Control had ordered states to stop routine H1N1 testing this past August. So the “99.9 percent of the cases have been H1N1” quote in the article was speaking of those tested in severe hospitalized cases, NOT the Whidbey Island community at large.
I feel it was irresponsible for Dr. Case to be quoted as stating in this front-page headline article that “It’s all H1N1,” without evidence that supports this statement.
The truth is that a lot of people have the flu and some unknown percentage of those people may be infected with H1N1 or H1N1 and another seasonal flu virus.
A recent CBS News report using the Public Information Act has found that when state screening was being done for H1N1 before the CDC forced them to stop, Georgia had a positive test result of 3 percent confirmed, Alaska 1 percent, and California 2 percent of those tested. Some studies are even showing that despite the frightening headlines and states of emergency, the H1N1 “Swine Flu Virus” is turning out to be less lethal and less virulent than many other past circulating seasonal influenza viruses.
A recent Purdue University study shows that up to 60 percent of seasonal influenza conditions are asymptomatic. County health officials in other states have stated that “emergency alerts” had been declared, not in response to an uptick in reported infections, but as a way to facilitate getting state and federal funding.
To add to the dilemma, four preliminary Canadian studies in Toronto are suggesting that people who had received the seasonal flu vaccine in the past were more likely to get sick with the H1N1 virus, and now they are scrambling to figure out their best course of action.
The point is that this is no doubt a season in which many people are getting sick with the flu.
As with any cold and flu season we should all do our best to avoid getting sick by increasing our immune system’s strength by reducing stress (perhaps by avoiding listening to the media headlines), getting more rest, eating a diet high in anti-oxidants and low in Halloween sweets, hydrating with healthy water and teas, taking precautionary measures by washing and drying hands frequently and avoiding hand to nose/mouth contact, and perhaps gargling with warm salt water.
After speaking with the county health department, the best thing you can do if you show any signs of any kind of flu is to stay home.
Typical flu symptoms include lethargy, cough, loss of appetite, possibly fever and perhaps a runny nose, nausea or diarrhea.
How about we just avoid the hysteria and get back to the task at hand of taking care of the health of ourselves, our family and our community without creating the fear factor.
Craig Weiner Weinston
The Chiropractic Zone