Oct 4, 2009 10:20 AM by Jamie Smith

Doctors warn swine flu panic may be worse than the illness itself

The swine flu is causing a lot of people to panic, and some doctors say hysteria about the flu might be worse than the illness itself.

Dr. Richard Honaker, a family practice physician in Carrollton, Texas is getting lots of calls from parents worried their children may have the H1N1 virus swine flu. "Parents are worried that their particular child will be the one that dies, and they need to understand the death rate is very low for this flu bug, just about the same as the regular flu," he says.

Honaker says doctors want to limit the spread of the virus, and one way to do that is for patients to stay home to avoid infecting anyone else. "Because there is so much flu going around, patients are coming in and bringing their sick kids, and all that does is keep this epidemic going," Honaker explains. "That's how they're making the epidemic worse."

Still, parents say it's hard to sit home and wait it out. "You just don't know; you don't know if your child is that one that might have complications and may end up having to be hospitalized or something else," says Debra Fitzhugh, whose 7-year-old daughter has already had swine flu.

At the first sign of symptoms, they called her pediatrician, who told them not to come in. She chose to go see another doctor. "It was a little scary and a little unsettling," she said. "I wanted to have the option of bringing her in and having her tested to see if in fact she did have that, and I wasn't comfortable just keeping her home not knowing."



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