Is Flu Being Hyped To Unnecessary Levels?

It’s already February, but it’s still cold and dreary – still the perfect time for influenza virus to strike, and for the mainstream media to grab the opportunity and scare people of its harm, causing us to rush in our supermarkets and buy excessive hand sanitizers.

In the past couple of years, we can recall the bird flu and the world-famous H1N1, formerly known as swine flu, and caused a lot of trouble for pigs simply because of media’s hype and public’s misconception. These viruses were highly contagious, something we’ve always tried to avoid – well – just like a plague. Each year, we see dramatic outbreak of flu virus, and this year was no different, as a matter of fact, it’s the earliest season in nearly a decade. For this flu season, the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) said that, the media frenzy behind the outbreak seems just some of those years.

Awareness about the flu virus is indeed, very important for public health. The young ones and the elderly are amongst the most vulnerable from these risks. Nobody wants to get sick, it compromises our busy and fast-paced 21st century lives. Thus, it is only reasonable that we want to know the truth behind the threat.

However, it is also very important that we keep our emotions in check and things in perspective. If we become sick from the flu virus, then it’s going to happen, and we can’t save ourselves even by bathing in Purell. What most people fail to realize is that, when one gets sick and he or she is normally healthy, then it’s important that he or she
should be sick – meaning, one should let the virus run its course and help the immune system fight and beat the virus from inside. The most bothersome thing about flu is people walking around carrying and spreading the virus, like a classmate or coworker arriving in the morning and announcing in a nasal voice of having the virus. Flu is highly contagious, and it’s an airborne virus that circulates in an enclosed room. We all don’t want to be around someone with the virus, nor inside a room with a person infected by it. The best thing you can do to yourself and the people around you when you get affected is to stay at home, get some rest, and drink a lot of fluids and healthy foods to help the body recover fast. Call your office or your teacher about your situation, and everyone wins.

In the early weeks of January in light of the flu outbreak, which peaked significantly earlier than usual (that’s according to CDC), there has been an increased demand for flu vaccines. The vaccine is said to protect us from the virus 100% – and this is simply another hype the mainstream media taught us. To tell you frankly, the CDC conducted
a study about the efficacy of the vaccines to protect us from the virus in 2011 – 2012 season. The result shows the vaccine can only protect us by 50%. Meaning, though it certainly doesn’t hurt to get vaccinated, it is not the sole solution against the problem, and there’s still no guarantee.

The reason behind this rating of efficacy is that, the virus circulating doesn’t always match the vaccine 100%. Though the CDC and health experts are doing their best to protect the public through vaccination, the strain of the virus circulating varies year after year. For this year however, the vaccine is a pretty good much for the strain of virus circulating.

Bloomberg reported in January that, this year’s inoculation accounts to about 62% of vaccine efficacy. That’s a whopping 12% increase from the usually 50% protection.

However, to be safe, one should never be surprised if he or she still gets sore throat and sniffles even after the vaccination at some point this winter. Even if the vaccine doesn’t stop the sickness entirely, some stubborn symptoms may still appear, and can be a lot less severe.

The flu vaccine takes almost 2 weeks to take in effect, thus, it’s very important to take it for what its worth. While waiting for it to kick in, the best thing you can do to safeguard yourself from the virus is to keep your body clean, wash your hands often, get enough sleep, and keep a healthy lifestyle.