Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

5 Myths About Swine Flu

Let's Swine-flu Party Like It's 2009

Since the outbreak of swine flu in spring 2009, "swine flu parties" have appeared. Though not specifically for children, swine flu parties operate on the same principle as the "chicken pox party": The idea is for attendees to become infected with a mild strain of swine flu in order to build resistance against a possibly more dangerous version of the strain down the road.

The CDC doesn't recommend doing this. Here's why: Although most people who have contracted the swine flu have had relatively mild symptoms and recovered quickly, others have had very severe cases and some people have died. It's impossible to know how the swine flu will affect you.

Contracting the swine flu now won't necessarily protect you against a genetic variation of the strain. And while you may fortunately bounce right back after willfully contracting swine flu, you could pass it along to someone who isn't so fortunate, or so willful in their desire to contract it. So, in an attempt to protect yourself against a future unknown, you may just get yourself -- or others -- extremely sick from a current known threat to your health. Your best defense isn't a strong offense when it comes to swine flu, so don't go charging head-first into it. Your safest play is to avoid it altogether, so clear your social calendar of any upcoming swine flu parties.

Want more on swine flu, bird flu and other types of contagious disease? Try the next page for links to more articles.