In case you haven’t heard, there’s a global panic, er, we mean pandemic, called swine flu. Or, at least it was called swine flu until the name was changed to protect the innocent. (Pigs, that is.) It’s now going by the clunky but nonoffensive title of influenza A (H1N1). Thankfully, we’re all clear on one fact: You can’t get swine flu from eating pork.
Unfortunately, when people start to panic, facts are hard to come by. On Twitter, which has been heralded as a hub for so-called citizen journalists, not every post tagged “#swineflu” contained information that was accurate, or even worth reading. People using the Twitter search engine to find answers may not have been employing the soundest judgment.
But even the professional media was responsible for creating a bit of a scare. As one Huffington Post blogger observed, a few headlines reading “Death Toll Rising” can lead the innocent news consumer to feel like “there’s a plague on.”
And while there have been comparisons to the flu epidemic of 1918, suggesting that influenza A might be the next Spanish influenza, we won’t help ourselves by giving in to hysteria. Still, a trait shared by the two viruses is that they start out mild. Spanish influenza eventually got worse, and influenza A has that potential.
In short: We can’t stop paying attention. Somewhere in between panic and ignorance is a happy medium.
That’s why we decided to find five sites with reliable, accurate and comprehensive information about swine flu. Get all your questions answered about how the disease started, why it’s a concern, what the symptoms are and how swine flu affects travel. The only thing the article won’t tell you is where you can buy a surgical mask.