The new swine flu, now possibly at PCC, presents serious and validated fear to the public at large, but instead of overreacting to the fear and sensation given to them by the media, more people need to calm down, and do the only thing they can do: stay clean.Just as the excitement over this pandemic was beginning to fade from attention, it has again been thrust into the spotlight, this time a little closer to home.

Along with the case reported by Jo Buczko, coordinator of the health services center, there have been multiple cases of the virus reported locally, including two students at Occidental College.

As of Sept. 4, the World Health Organization reports 2,837 known deaths since the virus reemerged. More than 20 percent of these deaths have come in the last few weeks.

Quick to the big guns, some media outlets are already coining it a second wave. Inevitably to follow will be more front-page stories with pictures of pigs, or worse, people wearing facemasks, coupled with an oversized headline reading something like:

Swine flu, back to stay?

In the past months those that stay connected to the media have been privy to a front row show in good old-fashioned sensationalism.

Analogous to the great bomb scare, or more currently the Y2K frenzy, the American media has grabbed the swine by the tail and apparently isn’t finished swinging.

Nothing positive can come from allowing oneself to be inebriated by the fear so readily available when reading about a subject like a pandemic.

It is a backwards solution when one considers the ways in which one’s health is so connected with one’s frame of mind.

In this sense, constant contemplation of dire and morbid circumstances can certainly cause the kind of negative psychological effects that might in turn diminish one’s health.

Being afraid of swine flu might make you more likely to contract it.

Instead of buying into the hype, examine why it is becoming such a big deal. The flu of a swine sounds so foreboding that it was practically a news frenzy waiting to happen, but hype subsides.

Outlets will tell us again and again of the deaths, until the deaths are no longer newsworthy.

Point of fact: How often does one hear stories about the common cold, or the normal seasonal flu? Why aren’t the front-page stories warning us about second-hand smoke? Why is there no global warming scare?

Those cases don’t receive attention because they don’t have the same potential to scare someone into living in a plastic bubble.

The public needs to save itself the trouble of going through another round of swine flu paranoia.

Come to grips with the reality of the situation.

Here is a flu, like any other flu, spreading for the first time to humans. It is treatable, and death is unlikely.

Instead of staying immersed in a constant flow of sensational media coverage, allowing the fear to affect the way we live, and the things we put on our faces, a more rational response is to just cease worrying so much, and simply do the same thing you do to prevent any other contagious sickness: Get a shot and keep your hands clean.

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