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Thursday, June 18, 2009

H1N1 Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic

Thursday, June 18, 2009
The World Health Organization gathered for an emergency meeting today and decided to declare the H1N1 swine flu officially at the Phase 6 pandemic stage.

So Is it Time to Panic Now?

Absolutely not. The change in phase really doesn't mean a lot for the United States, which has been treating this new flu virus like a pandemic for a while now. It also doesn't have any bearing on how severe the virus is. The change in phase simply indicates that it is spreading in several countries around the world.

In all honesty, this has been happening for a few weeks and the alert level could have been raised then. But the WHO has waited for a number of reasons, but mostly because they didn't (and don't) want people to panic for no reason.

There is still no reason to restrict travel or shut down schools and businesses. The disease really has not been severe so far. When you hear that over 140 people have died from it so far, it may sound scary. But over 35,000 people die from the seasonal flu every year - just in the United States. You just have to keep it in perspective.

What Does This Pandemic Mean Then?

To those of us who are not sick, it means we should remain vigilant about using precautions such as hand washing to keep ourselves healthy. To those who do get sick, you should take care of yourself, stay home and try not to expose other people to your germs and seek medical attention if you feel your symptoms are getting severe.

We should all:

* Know the Symptoms of H1N1 Swine Flu
* Learn How to Prepare for the Flu Pandemic
* Learn What the Pandemic Phases Mean
* Focus on How to Prevent H1N1 Swine Flu

Declaring this an official pandemic allows other less developed countries greater access to medical supplies so they will be able to care for their citizens as the disease spreads. It may also speed up the development of the pandemic flu vaccines that are already in production.