People, not precautions, overreact to swine flu

Credit: Kristen Severson/Photo Editor Credit: Kristen Severson/Photo Editor

The swine flu: we’ve all heard of it, we’ve been warned countless times about its possible health risks via numerous e-mails, and we’ve seen our school make the front page of local papers because of it. But is the situation really as desperate as it’s being made out to be?

College campuses are notorious for being the perfect places to spread diseases. You see the same people day after day, week after week, and are living and studying in close contact with them. When one student gets sick, it is easy to see how illness would spread quickly from person to person to person.

When cold and flu season hits every year, it is not surprising to see multiple students in the same class walking around with Kleenex boxes or a group of friends huddled around a library table all sniffling at the same time.

Instead of keeping this fact in mind and merely looking at H1N1 as an example of this common phenomenon, people are looking at the sickness with a panicked, mob mentality — they can think of nothing else other than the fact that more and more people are being infected, and their minds are quickly jumping to think how much higher that number could be in a few days.

Instead of looking at H1N1 as another strain of the flu — there are thousands of them — people are looking at it like some new disease with scary potential.

While people may be overreacting a bit about H1N1, it is still good to take precautions to avoid spreading the illness, and we appreciate the university’s efforts to do so.

It is clear we at Carnegie Mellon have a more pressing problem than any of the other local universities, since our reported cases are much higher in number, and we believe that the university is doing what it believes necessary to stop the spread of the disease to any more students. By taking precautions like isolating infected students, the likelihood of slowing the spread of the disease is much greater.