Yet, a silent killer, the H1N1 flu virus, could cause up to 90,000 deaths in the United States this fall, mainly among children and young adults.
Just yesterday swine flu cases were confirmed in the Sinton and Gregory-Portland schools, and many college campuses already are reporting an explosion of flulike symptoms.
In early August, the Bee-Picayune reported that medical authorities had confirmed the 10th case of H1N1 flu in Bee County, since an outbreak in Mexico occurred earlier this year.
And they agreed that the number of swine flu cases likely would grow once school resumed and cold weather arrives.
What can be done to prevent this swine flu epidemic from reaching you or your family?
Beeville physician Miguel Sierra-Hoffman, who specializes in infectious disease and pulmonary care, and Kim Montgomery, RN, infectious disease control officer for Christus Spohn Hospital Beeville, encouraged residents to take precautions.
These include getting one’s annual influenza vaccination, staying home from work or school if one suspects he or she may have the flu, preventing the spread of influenza by coughing into the crook of one’s arm and properly disposing of tissues.
A vaccine against H1N1 is expected to be available by mid-October, county officials said. They recommend residents have themselves and their loved ones vaccinated if possible.
According to CNN, Elmo, the popular Sesame Street character, will be featured in a series of public service advertisements meant to encourage better hygiene among young children.
In the ads, Elmo teams up with another Sesame Street veteran to stress the importance of basic healthy habits such as frequent hand washing, sneezing into the bend of your arm, and not touching your mouth, nose and eyes.
These ads also help promote www.flu.gov, the government Web site responsible for posting information regarding the H1N1 virus.
Bee County kids, and their parents, are urged to take steps to stay healthy this school year. With an ounce of prevention and a little luck, we will escape becoming another statistic in this worldwide pandemic.