Swine Flu: Media Induced?

Every year, thousands of people die from some type of flu. Though some years there is a greater outbreak that others, it always hits.  However, this year the swine flu created fear in more people in decades.  But is the swine flu simply being hyped up by the media or is it really something to concern oneself about?

When people at my school started becoming worried about getting the swine flu, especially when it hit the Boston University dental school, I did not seem too worried.  Usually, I care about issues such as these and think about the possibilities of it hitting someone close to me.  But this time, it didn’t seem to get to me as much.  Yes, it was in every form of media – newspapers, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, even the Boston University newsletters.  Yet, I simply did not take the threat seriously.

The media has such power to decide what the public will take seriously or worry about.  Sometimes, the media chooses the right issues – the economy, war, Obama’s first term etc.  However, this time I think the swine flu is simply taking stories away from the economy, the war, and Obama’s first term.  Yes, the virus is spreading quickly.  But it spreads the same as any other influenza virus.  And its symptoms are the same.  It requires treatment, just the same as other viruses.  What makes this particular virus so much scarier?  Even though there is no vaccine, the common flu vaccine did not exist when I was younger.  To this day, I have still not received a flu shot before “flu season,” and I am still alive.

I believe that the constant updates of the number of people who may have the swine flu, the number of confirmed cases, and the number of deaths is simply a scare.  Many of the people who have died from this illness live in places where there is not proper medical care or clean facilities.  How can we live in fear when we live in a place that is lucky enough to have the required medical attention?  I’m curious who else feels the way that I do.



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