Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Perhaps We Over Reacted

My paternal grandmother wasn't one in a million. She was one in 100 million. She died in 1918 at the age of 26 from the Spanish flu. My life has been informed by flu.
The Spanish flu pandemic lasted from March, 1918, until June, 1920, and killed at least one hundred million people. It touched almost every part of the world including the Arctic Circle and remote Pacific islands. It affected almost one billion people -- more than half of the population of the world at that time.
No flu outbreak since the Spanish flu has even come close to the global horrors that claimed my grandmother's life. Maybe because of those two awesome years of pandemic, however, the word 'flu' creates a visceral reaction in all of us.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each flu season is unique, but it is estimated that, on average, approximately 5% to 20% of U.S. residents get the flu, and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized for flu-related complications each year. About 36,000 Americans die on average per year from the complications of flu.
Flu can be a killer, no doubt about it.
So, though, can be constant panic and stress.
Here's a thought. Let's wash our hands often, get plenty of rest, eat healthy meals, and turn off the radios and televisions at least when portents of doom assault us.

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