Swine Flu: Why You Can Ignore the Hype

by: Jeff Farley

The new media hysteria is swine flu. Despite the fact that nobody in the U.S. is seriously ill so far, the media are already making this a much bigger story than it needs to be. This will be in the headlines for the next couple of weeks even though it (like all these other flu things around the world) never turns out to be the disaster the media makes many fear.

The fact is, the regular annual flu has some stats that would make people freak out. Consider this from the Center for Disease Control website:

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 persons are hospitalized for flu-related complications each year. About 36,000 Americans die on average per year from the complications of flu.

I can almost guarantee you this swine flu will be a tiny fraction of what the real flu does each year. The media storm will pass just as fast as it popped up this weekend.