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Press Editorial: Feeling bad or good, take it easy

It's not a good time to party but it's also not a good time to hide.

Fear of catching the can-be deadly H1N1 (swine flu) has moms and dads rushing their children to the emergency room to make sure they are going to make it through this illness.

At least one local business has a sign up that says, "If you have the sniffles, don't enter."

If the amount of hand sanitizer popping up in offices, schools and everywhere else is any indication, sales are skyrocketing.

Rumors of hundreds of residents catching swine flu are multiplying and every day there is something new in the media (yes, The Press, too). And apparently Hagen School was closing for a week because of this pandemic. Um, at least that's what students said.

And where is the vaccine, where is the vaccine?

Settle down!

The outbreak doesn't only include the disease, it includes fear. The world is not going to come to an end (from this at least -- rumors say that's not until 2012).

Health professionals say there are times to go to the emergency room and times not to. Some of the emergency signs include: Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, dizziness and vomiting in adults; and bluish skin, not waking up or not interacting and fever with a rash, among others, in children.

Use your head. You know when something is wrong.

Headaches warrant some thought of this sickness but there is still a pretty good chance it's just a headache.

Of course, there is always that person who will call in sick every time there is word of an illness going around. And yes, many people have the flu but it doesn't mean they are going to die.

Local schools are seeing increased numbers of absences and students being sent home. Agreed, go home if you don't feel good.

But people get sick and we cannot live our lives running around with overwhelming fear.

This has also given bacon a bad name -- no need to give up bacon.

The virus was originally referred to as "swine flu" because tests showed that many of the genes in the virus were similar to influenza viruses that normally occur in pigs in North America, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. Later studies found that H1N1 is very different from what normally circulates in pigs.

We are not saying don't wash your hands and don't try to steer clear of pale-faced hacking passersby.

It's probably best to mark the "cannot attend" box on your invitation to a swine flu party -- a gathering where people have close contact with a person who has H1N1 flu in order to become infected in hopes of having natural immunity to the virus.

"There is no way to predict with certainty what the outcome will be for an individual or, equally important, for others to whom the intentionally infected person may spread the virus," according to the CDC.

We are saying, take it easy, don't run off to the emergency room at the first sign of fatigue and try not to worry your neighbors by spreading unsubstantiated rumors of people writhing in pain on their deathbeds.

-- The Press Editorial Board meets weekly to discuss issues of importance to the community.

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