I’ve been coughing a lot lately. I ate some bacon for breakfast yesterday. STAY AWAY FROM ME. I MIGHT HAVE THE SWINE FLU! Where’s my face mask, you…

I’ve been coughing a lot lately. I ate some bacon for breakfast yesterday. STAY AWAY FROM ME. I MIGHT HAVE THE SWINE FLU! Where’s my face mask, you ask? Nowhere on my face because I’m coughing from allergies and asthma, not the swine flu.   I’m afraid this “swine flu pandemic” has erupted into mass hysteria. In the local hospitals here in Chicago, emergency rooms are bombarded with people who believe they’re exhibiting symptoms of the swine flu. I think the virus here is panic and fear, not the flu, and it is unlikely to be defeated anytime soon.   I don’t discount the deaths that have occurred as a result of the H1N1 virus, and my thoughts are with the survivors of the people who died from this virus.   It is great that people are generally more aware of their physical health and whatnot and are overall vigilant against this virus. It’s great that people have taken steps to prevent the spread of airborne pathogens by staying at home if they’re sick.   But please, please, let’s all try not freak out so much. Mass slaughterings of pigs are completely unnecessary, using swine flu “safety” kits is not going to save you from the virus, and antibacterial soap and antibiotics work against bacteria, not viruses. If anything, usual safety precautions against seasonal flu are most likely effective in combating transmission of the so-called swine flu.    -Allyson

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