The main reason health officials are worried about H1N1 is not because it is somehow deadlier than other flus. The flu is pretty deadly. It kills around the same number of Americans each year as car accidents. That’s why we have flu vaccines; we try to predict which flu strain will be the most common and then prepare ourselves for it.
The issue with swine flu is that we don’t yet have a vaccine. We had no idea it was coming, so we were unprepared. As with any other flu, people who are very old, very young, and who have health conditions are the most at risk of actually dying, but anyone is in danger if they don’t take care of themselves.
Because we weren’t prepared for this, there’s more of a chance that it will affect more people. And the more people who end up sick, the harder it is for the nation to go about its business. If no one at a certain factory is able to work, for example, that’s a huge hit to that company and to all the other companies that depend on it. If police, firemen, doctors, and/or nurses get sick, that’s a safety issue. We need to have enough healthy, well people in our society to function.
So you can stop worrying about dying from swine flu. Instead, worry about staying healthy. Wash your hands and encourage others to. Eat right, get enough rest. And don’t let fear of the flu cripple your life.