Swine flu myths busted
With as much information as we are hearing about swine flu, there is also a lot of misinformation. Learning about myths surrounding the flu can provide protection against the virus.health and fitness Updated: Oct 30, 2009 12:26 IST
The eight myths about swine flu are:
Myth 1 - The symptoms are like regular flu, such as fever
Testing for fever may not be a reliable way of diagnosing swine flu. Up to half the people who get swine flu never develop a fever and some suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms as well as more standard flu symptoms.
Myth 2 - This is just mild flu. The death rates are even lower than for normal flu
Swine flu is killing young people rather than the very elderly, and although winter is just starting, more young people have already died of flu than normally die over the entire winter.
Myth 3 - Healthy people are safe. Only sick, weak people get really ill
Most of the kids who have died of swine flu were perfectly healthy beforehand and many of the adult victims also had no underlying conditions.
Myth 4 - Eating organic food, taking vitamins, wearing a mask, washing hands and drinking plenty of fluids will offer protection
Getting vaccinated is by far the most effective thing you can do to protect yourself and your family from swine flu.
Myth 5 - No worries, now that vaccines are available.
Vaccines will save lives, but only if they get through in time. Even in rich countries, it will be months before everyone who wants the vaccine can get it. Poor countries will get little if any vaccine.
Myth 6 - The vaccine isn't safe. No point taking the risk to prevent mild flu
During past pandemics, a third or more of the entire population has got flu and the risks of flu killing you or causing nasty problems such as Guillain-Barré syndrome are far greater than those of the vaccines.
Myth 7 - This virus won't get deadlier
Flu viruses do sometimes get nastier. No one can be sure how 2009 flu will evolve, but it's certainly not going away.
Myth 8 - Once this pandemic is over, world will be safe for another few decades
Another animal flu virus could jump to humans tomorrow and start another pandemic, which could be far worse than 2009 swine flu.