News is welcome
With only two cases so far reported in the UAE, many of us are feeling rather complacent about the H1N1 virus ("H1N1 outbreak feared among Makkah pilgrims", Gulf News, June 19). But for those in countries like the US, Canada and UK, who have to live with the fear of contracting the disease every time they step out of the house, I am sure it is not being covered as much as they would like. I remember when bird flu was rampant in India and other Asian countries, we were keen for news of where the disease had spread next. The closer to home it was, the more we took care with our hygiene. So I suppose it is good that the public is being made aware of the importance of hygiene in contracting any disease. If in the process, the news is being sensationalised, that is something one should accept as part and parcel of such a phenomenon. I for one am happy that swine flu has been talked about in such detail over the last few weeks. With the summer holidays coming up, this has given us all a good idea of which countries to avoid going to on holiday and what precautions one needs to take to avoid contracting the disease.
From Ms Gazala Raza

Get the facts
As important as it is to know about potentially deadly viruses and other infectious diseases, it is equally important to be aware of the truth and the real facts about these diseases, rather than fretting about whether it kills and taking over-the-top measures to make sure one's family is protected. The assurance of the UAE government is a big relief as it shows their competence to handle the H1N1 virus. As long as we have their assurance, we need not worry about the virus spreading through the UAE.
From Ms Eisha Gupta

Travel troubles
Since I travel a lot, I believe the H1N1 virus is a real threat to me, so I have to be extra careful. I wash my hands with hand sanitisers and try not to breathe without protection when I am among others at airports. What consoles me, is the fact that in some countries, thermal detectors have been installed at airports. This is very reassuring.
From Mr Camil Al Khoury

Look to the future
The issue is both internationally and locally relevant. It is certainly of importance and concerns us all. But publicising the number of patients infected by swine flu in various parts of the world every day has overblown the issue. To keep weak minds in shape, it is necessary we do not talk about how many have been attacked, but rather learn ways by which we can identify the symptoms of H1N1 and know what to do next. I realise that even if victims identify symptoms of swine flu, they are conscious of being isolated by society and petrified that the next day, they would be caught on camera and highlighted as the next victim in the H1N1 saga.
From Ms Farhana Zaman

New distractions
A couple of years back, there was a terrible bird flu that killed many people - thousands of birds were culled in order to eradicate this problem. What happened to this problem? A few years ago, the world had problems with cows too. Thus, the same approach was used to solve the problem. What happened to that? We forgot about it. Maybe the world needs a new distraction! I don't believe the H1N1 virus is as serious as it has been made out to be.
From Mr Shavakat Mamajonov

Overblown issue
As a layman, I feel the issue is overblown. Perhaps it is my ignorance, but I feel that lots of paper is being wasted on the subject. Unfortunately, the coverage is mainly restricted to the number of cases across the globe and minimal effort is being made to educate the general public on the recourse to be taken. The H1N1 virus will move to the inside pages once something else crops up. I feel that there are numerous other health-related issues that have to be addressed more seriously than H1N1.
From Mr C. Sunil Roy

Crying wolf
My sentiment is that for those directly affected by H1N1 virus, it is obviously a serious matter. Governments must clearly take precautions to safeguard citizens. The World Health Organisation (WHO) is being responsible by giving out warnings and it is then up to each country to put in place its own safeguards. In cases like this, if there are no warnings and people get sick or die, the WHO or individual governments are to blame. But if the organisations do take action, limit the spread of subsequent cases, WHO would be accused of crying wolf. It seems to be a no-win situation for WHO either way. Personally, I am happy to see everyone err on the side of caution.
From Mr Terry Vaughan

Start from home
The issue of the H1N1 virus or swine flu is not overblown and the media is taking good measures in making people aware of the consequences of such pandemic outbreaks. When a health hazard that is as contagious as swine flu spreads across the continents, awareness is one major step in preventing it from taking over. The issue cannot be taken lightly, as history tells us about grave flu disasters in the world. The health hazard is not something that can be stopped by airports or government authorities alone. Precautions have to be taken by every individual and must start from every home. A major awareness campaign is necessary so that it not only educates people but also helps them become responsible when their family members or they themselves have contracted the flu.
From Ms Swathy Kishore

Serious issue
The issue of swine flu is very important and needs to be followed up. It is imperative that people are educated and informed of the differences between H1N1 and the normal flu. I had a bad case of flu a couple of weeks ago and was initally very worried. However, a Gulf News report had outlined the basic differences between the two kinds of flu and so I did not panic once I recalled them. Unfortunately, those at greatest risk may be the most uninformed - especially the elderly and the young. The issue is certainly not overblown and it is as serious as it is made out to be.
From Ms S. Hashmi
Abu Dhabi

Control needed
This issue is definitely overblown! Especially since globally, health officials have confirmed that this type of flu is treatable and is not as serious as the bird flu. In fact, more people die every year from conventional flu than from swine flu! But I do think that the UAE needs to stock up on medications such as Tamiflu, which could help fight these kinds of diseases. And these medications should not be sold over the counter by pharmacies. Instead, they should provide attested prescriptions for them, because in the current situation, people would buy them for no reason and stock them at home. Consequently, there would be no stock left in the pharmacies!
From Mr Behin A.

Scare of the day
Any malady which abruptly spreads globally must be taken seriously. When the World Health Organisation (WHO) states that swine flu has reached the threshold established for a pandemic, then it is a signal that appropriate measures must be taken. At the same time, there are several media outlets which thrive on a 'scare of the day' policy, peddling to their readers or viewers a constant diet of fear. Swine flu lends itself to massive media overkill and the public must realise that this has more to do with the bottomline of media perpetrating this kind of shabby journalism than it has to do with their well-being. Does swine flu affect me personally? Excuse me while I reach for a tissue.
From Mr Malcolm Thomson
Abu Dhabi

Undeserved attention
It is nice to read that there are other people who believe the same thing my friends and I do. The H1N1 virus is not as big a deal as it has been portrayed. I remember hearing of bombings in several parts of the world, along with brutal killings, the global economic crisis, people dying - but everywhere, all over the internet, all I would see is "Breaking News: Swine flu outbreak". Headlines on most news-related websites are of the nature "Swine flu kills one"! I think it has been given too much attention - much more than it deserves. Personally, I am not affected by swine flu, nor do I know anyone who has been affected by it.
From Mr Rehan Khalid

Spreading horror
As far as I am concerned, any disease is a problem and people should take good care. However, what I don't understand is that as long as there is a cure for it, why is it taking so much attention worldwide and why is this feeling of horror spreading everywhere? The world should gather to make the vaccine available in all countries and stay alert.
From Mr Mohammad Al Attar

Take precautions always
I am not sure whether the H1N1 virus is really as serious as it is made out to be, though I don't see any harm in spreading awareness about it. The precautions that people are advised to take, such as no physical exchange of greetings, covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing, washing or sanitising hands, are general precautions to avoid the transfer of germs to a healthy person. I think mentioning this in the context of swine flu is unnecessary and is creating panic among people. It doesn't affect me, because I take these precautions all the time.
From Ms Ritu Chawla-Ray

Big scare
I think that this issue is being hyped and is in fact creating a bigger scare than public awareness. If at all precaution is to be taken, it has to be done strictly in countries where H1N1 is emerging from. Most of the cases reported are about people who have gone to these affected countries. The UAE would be able to prevent the disease from spreading right at the airport.
From Ms E. Fernandes

There seems to be a lot of misinformation regarding swine flu. This is what gives a basis to the over-reaction and hysteria. While precautions are necessary, I think some of the travel advisories are somewhat an over-reaction and would hamper business and productivity at this time in the economy when no one can afford to slacken.
From Mr Pradeep Luthria

New name, old disease
Frankly, I just don't understand what has been happening in the medical field in the past decade. New flus are detected every year and identified, such as dengue, swine flu, bird flu and so on. While some originate from chicken, others are from birds! If one turns the clock backwards, some 20 to 25 years previously, we all knew about a select number of sicknesses, such as cancer, pneumonia, typhoid and other diseases. But it seems the medical field is now cashing in on research that has given different names to old ailments. I believe there is nothing to be afraid of. New diseases and flus would continue to be introduced by science every day, but what we must do is take utmost care of our health in all possible ways. Be hygienic and healthy and adhere to all possible safety measures! If one does this, the human body would be well-protected from the various flus.
From Mr Glen Vitus