Upcoming Events
  • Have a great summer, Coppell! Publishing resumes Aug. 14
The official student news site of Coppell High School

Coppell Student Media

The official student news site of Coppell High School

Coppell Student Media

The official student news site of Coppell High School

Coppell Student Media

Business Spectacle: Lilys Hair Studio (video)
Business Spectacle: Lily's Hair Studio (video)
October 26, 2023

    The truth about swine flu: Mythbusters edition

    By Ellen Cameron
    Staff Writer

    High school may be a Petri dish, but this year, Coppell High School has become a breeding ground for not only diseases, but for rumors about diseases as well.

    Last May, swine flu was treated like a biochemical weapon of massed destruction, and many schools shut down. For about two weeks, the nation was in complete panic mode. With the start of the new school year, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of swine flu cases as students are frequently in close contact once again.

    In many cases, rumors add to the panic more than anything. To keep you informed about the virus, The Sidekick brings you a special issue of Mythbusters; it’s time to bust some Swine Flu myths.

    Myth: All strains of the flu currently circulating are H1N1.
    Result: Busted.
    “Not all strands of the flu are swine,” Coppell High School nurse Beth Dorn said. “When people get sick and have tests done, the results just say flu type A, which includes the swine flu but also other strands of flu that are all treated the same way. To test to confirm just swine flu would be more expensive and unnecessary.”

    However, it is indicated by the Dallas County Health Department that the majority—97%– of all flu victims do, in fact, have H

    Myth: Only five more people have to get H1N1 to close the school.
    Result: Busted.
    “There’s no set number of students that have to be absent to result in the school closing,” administration secretary Carol Greene said.

    While other schools in the Dallas area have closed, CHS will remain open until further notice. This rumor appears to be one of a repeat of the rumors caused by the hysteria from last May than anything else.

    Myth: Using hand sanitizer will keep you healthy.
    Result: Plausible.
    “Washing your hands is best,” Dorn said. “Soap and water is better at getting rid of bacteria, but alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a handy backup.”

    Hand sanitizers are not considered effective unless their alcohol content is over 60 percent. Sanitizers also do not cut away grime which may accumulate on hands while also killing normal flora, the bacteria residing on the body as natural part of the immune system. Overuse of hand sanitizer has also been blamed for the spread of more tenacious strains of bacteria that grow immune to such methods as well as for less developed immune systems in children and other development issues.

    Myth: The rainy weather makes people sick.
    Result: Plausible.
    “Only because people stay inside more, and spread germs more easily,” Dorn said. “Although allergies with congestion can be aggravated by the weather and lead to sinus infection and increase asthma.”

    Myth: If you get swine flu, you’ll miss at least a week of school.
    Result: Plausible
    “The Center for Disease Control recommends that people with the swine flu stay home until they’ve been fever-free for 24 hours without Tylenol or Motrin,” Dorn said. “However, some doctors will tell students to stay home longer than that. It really depends on the doctor.”

    It should also be noted that people respond differently to and suffer from various strands of the flu. People with weaker immune systems may miss a week while others miss only a day; there’s no definitive trend.

    Myth: You should cough into your elbow, not your hand.
    Result: Confirmed.
    The CDC has recommended coughing into the elbow or sleeve as opposed to traditional methods of using hands or tissues for a while now, but it’s just now caught on. Unless hands are disinfected after every cough or sneeze, they will continue to transmit germs to every surface they touch, such as doorknobs, desks and other “high-traffic” areas, thus putting others at risk. Coughing into one’s elbow or sleeve is only potentially dangerous if wiping ones face on the sleeve. It should also be remembered that hands should still be sanitized or washed regularly.

    Myth: Tamiflu will cure your flu.
    Result: Busted.
    “Tamiflu is not a cure,” pediatrician and allergist Dr. George McAnelly said. “It can be used as a preventative, and it is a treatment that decreases the amount of virus a person can spread and reduces effects of the virus, but is not a cure.”

    According to the Tamiflu Web site, Tamiflu is only effective if taken between 12 and 48 hours of symptoms beginning.  However, unlike many medicines, Tamiflu and other related antivirals treat both the outward symptoms of the disease and the disease itself. Tamiflu is prescription only, though, which means that the only thoughts and decisions that matter are those of a licensed practitioner.

    Myth: Bacon will give you swine flu.
    Result: Busted.
    “That is very much an urban myth,” Dr. McAnnelly said. “The virus is actually a combination of a human virus and a pig virus, so it is a mutation. It is primarily spread though respiratory droplets, such as when sneezing or coughing on someone, and through hand contact, such as sneezing and coughing and then touching another person.”

    Few diseases transmit from animals to humans via meat that it is properly cleaned and cooked. Mad cow disease would be the notable exception; however, swine flu follows the rule.

    Leave a Comment
    More to Discover

    Comments (0)

    All Coppell Student Media Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *