Don#039;t mess around with the flu bug

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 13, 2003

It's official, our nation, state and city are in the midst of a full-scale flu crisis.

So many people have taken the vaccination that supplies are running short throughout America.

On Friday, it was reported that Alabama will get an additional 1,400 vaccinations but it is unclear how many the county health department will get.

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While the health department is out, many of the local doctors' offices still have a vaccine supply and the cost is slightly higher than the health department, but it's a small price to pay to prevent the flu.

Treat this outbreak with common sense and don't panic.

Without discounting the seriousness of the virus, or the potential it has to wreak additional havoc, we would caution readers to keep matters in perspective, and to take preventive measures.

While public health experts say this year's flu is the worst strain in years, remember it is not a pandemic or worldwide.

Sadly, some people have died from the flu, but remember that people die every year.

The national media has stirred up fears and have given only the grim forecast, causing public anxiety levels to go up.

We agree that we must treat the flu with seriousness, but we must keep ourselves in check from being part of the panic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, in the years 1918-19, some 500,000 died in the United States from the flu?

Today, we have some of the most advanced medical facilities in the world creating vaccines with new detected strain.

It should be noted that according to Thursday's Wall Street Journal, there has been a shortage of vaccines since 2000, and supplies can't be stored because the strain is always different.

Neither L.V. Stabler Memorial Hospital, nor the health department has not reported any deaths directly attributable to this year's flu outbreak, yet both have been inundated by people worried whether they have the flu and what will happen to them.

Health officials at the CDC suggest if you have the flu to stay at home and get plenty of rest.

Avoid contact with others in order to stop the spread of the virus.

Keep your sick children at home so they don't infect other children, which simply spreads from student to student and then starts over.

If you haven't had the flu already, public health officials recommend the following preventive measures: wash your hands with bacterial soap and do so often; stay away from people who are coughing; eat healthy and get plenty of rest and exercise.

Next year, don't wait until it is too late and panic sets in when vaccine supplies run short.