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.
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- Adams, Mike. Apr. 27, 2009. "As Swine Flu Spreads, Conspiracy Theories of Laboratory Origins Abound." http://www.naturalnews.com/026141_swine_flu_conspiracy_conspiracy_theories.html
- Brown, I.H.; Harris, P.A.; McCauley, J.W.; Alexander, D.J. "Multiple genetic reassortment of avian and human influenza A viruses in European pigs, resulting in the emergence of an H1N2 virus of novel genotype." Journal of General Virology (1998), 79, 2947-2955.http://vir.sgmjournals.org/cgi/reprint/79/12/2947
- Burmeister, Caren. "After local swine flu deaths, Beaches hospitals, schools safeguard." The Florida Times-Union. Aug. 21, 2009.http://www.jacksonville.com/community/shorelines/2009-08-22/story/after_local_swine_flu_deaths_beaches_hospitals_schools_safegua
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Novel H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) and You." Aug. 5, 2009. (Aug. 21, 2009)http://www.cdc.gov/H1N1flu/qa.htm
- Ferran, Lee; Gaynor, Josh. "Tamiflu Developer: Swine Flu Could Have Come From Bio-Experiment Lab." ABC News. May 14, 2009.http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/SwineFlu/story?id=7584420&page=1
- Friedman, Emily. "Doctors Wary of Dangerous Pox Parties." ABC News. Feb. 2, 2009.http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=6772216&page=1
- Goldacre, Ben. "Swine flu and hype - a media illness." The Guardian. Apr. 29, 2009. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/apr/29/swine-flu-hype
- Le Page, Michael. "Is swine flu a bioterrorist virus?" Apr. 27, 2009.http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2009/04/is-swine-flu-a-bioterrorist-vi.html
- McNeil Jr., Donald G. "Swine Flu Not an Accident from a Lab, W.H.O. Says." The New York Times. May 15, 2009.http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/15/health/policy/15flu.html
- Paddock, Catharine, PhD. "WHO Says New H1N1 Virus Did Not Come From A Lab." Medical News Today.http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/150136.php
- PRI. "Where did the H1N1 flu start?" The World. May 11, 2009. http://www.pri.org/theworld/?q=node/26251
- Puente, David. "Parents, Kids & Swine Flu Parties?" CNN. May 7, 2009. http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2009/05/07/parents-kids-swine-flu-parties/
- Roan, Shari. "Do face masks help prevent swine flu infection?" The Los Angeles Times. Apr. 28, 2009. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-sciw-swine-masks28-2009apr28,0,4722242.story
- Soe, Valerie. "A Pox On Your House? Please Call!" San Francisco Chronicle. Jan. 29, 2004.http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/g/archive/2004/01/29/chxpox.DTL&type=printable
- Watson, Paul Joseph. "Is Swine Flu A Biological Weapon?" Prison Planet.com. Apr. 27, 2009.http://www.prisonplanet.com/is-swine-flu-a-biological-weapon.html
- World Health Organization. "Pandemic (H1N1) 2009." (Aug. 17, 2009)http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/en/
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- World Health Organization. "The safety of pork." May 1, 2009. (Aug. 17, 2009)http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/frequently_asked_questions/pork_safety/en/index.html
- World Health Organization. "What is the new influenza A (H1N1)?" June 11, 2009. (Aug. 19, 2009) http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/frequently_asked_questions/about_disease/en/index.html
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