Swine Flu vs. Regular Flu

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The first swine flu case in the US was confirmed at the end of March.

It took more than two months for H1N1 influenza to hit the Mid-Ohio Valley.

Currently there is one confirmed case and five probable cases in Wood County.

"We have other samples that we are sending in that wouldn't surprise me if they'd come back as confirmed cases eventually," said Dick Wittberg, Executive Director, Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department.

Wittberg says he wants people to take the proper precautions but keep things in perspective. He says the swine flu compares to a bad year of the regular flu.

For an average flu year, one percent of people get hospitalized for the regular flu, but for swine flu, five percent of people are getting hospitalized.

The elderly, pregnant women, and young children are groups that need to be particularly cautious.

"Keep your eye open. If you start to see any of your loved ones get sick, get them to the doctor because there are things that can be done to make it much less probable that they will suffer any ill consequences because of this," said Wittberg.

So far, 17 people have died from swine flu compared to 36,000 that die of regular flu each year.

"This is the flu. We're all used to the flu. This is something that we see pretty regularly and this is not going to be more different than what we see in a regular flu season," said Wittberg.

Spreading it can be prevented in the same way-- with regular and thorough hand washing.

Wittberg advises that if you are sick, stay at home until you are better.

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