What’s so scary about H1N1?

There was an odd moment on early morning TV today when an anchor for the CBS Early Show announced that the regular host wasn’t in today because he’s out sick. “It could be H1N1,” she said.

Harry Smith, the regular host, then hauled himself off his deathbed and called into the show to reveal that he’s feeling OK, but he’s achey and feverish.

Runny nose? Temperature of 99.6? Why is this a big deal?

Meanwhile, in Minnesota today, it’s reported that a vaccine against H1N1 “may get here too late?

It’s pretty clear by now that H1N1 isn’t a death pandemic for most people. You get a runny nose. You get some fever. You feel lousy. And your best friends will make a bigger deal out of it than it needs to be.

Of course, if everyone comes down with H1N1 at the same time, companies will be hard-pressed to have enough workers to operate; every day will be like Fridays in the summer.

But the flu only last a few days and, so far, doesn’t appear to present the threat to elderly people than the “regular flu” does, a fact that doesn’t yield a very interesting headline..

  • kennedy

    Let’s face it, something invisible that passes freely among people making them sick…that’s scary. You never know when or where you can pick up an infection. Hand washing replaces hand wringing. You can’t trust your friends or even your own family to keep from infecting you because they won’t know they are carriers until it’s too late. You can even get contaminated when noone is around by touching something a sick person has touched. I’d better stop before I give myself germophobia.

  • LK

    Yep, I just got over the H1N1. I can confirm that it’s nothing really to get excited about. I have regular old colds in the winter that are more taxing.

  • Elizabeth T.

    I’ve been telling my friends to focus on the truly important things: go get a regular flu shot. Don’t get hung up on the swine flu one. Risk management is critical. Simply put, you are far, far more likely to get the “ordinary” flu. Put your efforts into those things which you can effect.

    I got a whopping case of Influenza Spring of ’08. I had forgotten you could be that sick & still live. It entirely messed up my academic semester, as did the fact my 1-year old son caught it. Between the two, I was 2 weeks behind in my graduate classes.

    I’d be much more scared of the common influenza bugs – there are more of them & I’m simply more likely to get exposed to them.

    People are more afraid of this because the media is pushing the story because it’s “new” or “novel”. After a few people they know catch it & get over it … the media will move on.

    That said, we shouldn’t ignore the preparation for pandemic disease. We just shouldn’t misinterpret the latest new thing as the Armageddon Bug.