People should not underestimate the swine flu disease May 18, 2009 — by Brandon Yang The headlines of newspapers around the world are all screaming one term: swine flu. Scientifically known as the H1N1 influenza virus, this disease is spreading around the world and is currently just one level below a full-blown pandemic according to the World Health Organization. More than 100 people have died from this new virus, yet many are not worried. The headlines of newspapers around the world are all screaming one term: swine flu. Scientifically known as the H1N1 influenza virus, this disease is spreading around the world and is currently just one level below a full-blown pandemic according to the World Health Organization. More than 100 people have died from this new virus, yet many are not worried. With several schools closed, the students and the administration at SHS need to be more aware of how to protect themselves and others from the disease. Rather than just worrying about becoming infected or believing that the swine flu is overblown, steps need to be taken to help people remain healthy during this outbreak. First, people need to be more careful, especially in public areas like school. Simple measures such as thoroughly washing one’s hands with soap or hand sanitizer before eating during lunch or break make a drastic difference. Contact with people who appear to have the typical flu symptoms, such as excessive coughing and sneezing, must be avoided, as the virus can be transferred through such excretion. Some people even wear surgical masks as an extra step. Although these actions seem to be common precautions, schools and other public facilities should encourage students and other people to be more careful. If these symptoms do appear, people need to know what to do. So far, most Americans who have caught the disease have mild symptoms, but if conditions worsen within a day or two, people must seek assistance from a doctor or go to the hospital immediately for treatment, as there is medication that speeds recovery if taken in the early stages of the disease. In addition to recovering, people need to stop the spread of the virus by limiting bodily contact with other individuals. Some people have criticized schools for closing down upon discovering an infected student, but the administration of such schools should be applauded. Human lives are worth much more than a few days of school. As the governments of infected nations are taking action, the number of deaths from this virus is declining daily, but many people is beginning to take swine flu less seriously. Students attending schools closed down after the discovery of an infected student ignore the warnings of health officials to stay home to help contain the virus. Instead of being more cautious, they act as though they just have a break from school and nothing is wrong. Such behavior will only spread the virus further and make matters worse. Although the outbreak of swine flu seems to be diminishing, the virus is still continuing to spread. People still need to take steps to protect themselves and to contain this deadly disease. Rather than waiting for the virus to strike first, schools and health officials need to ensure that students remain healthy and free of the swine flu. Even if this disease begins to disappear, vaccines and other medication should still be prepared; it may strike harder in the fall.