It is almost a given that anyone who comments on medical issues should be saying something about swine flu and its implications. What more can we say? The stats and real (and imagined) seriousness and pervasiveness change daily. In the end this is still influenza, a potentially lethal respiratory virus that most people survive. It is spread person-to-person by water droplets produced from coughing and sneezing. It is relatively easy to avoid contact by staying home from work but not so easy to isolate oneself on board a small boat or in a tent when pinned down by a raging storm. Wash your hands and be courteous by coughing and sneezing into the crook of you elbow. When water is not readily available and you have the room, alcohol handwash solution is not a bad idea. As it turns out these are good ideas under any circumstances. Oseltamivir (e.g.,Tameflu – an antiviral) may be beneficial, especially if you are planning to head to Mexico or maybe CA or TX (and now even more places) but at $90+ US for ten 75mg tablets (www.drugstore.com) should this be a high priority; how much would you carry? Over-the-counter medications are of little to no use for treatment or prevention.
If you are worried, go to a reliable source, e.g., www.cdc.gov and not the nightly news cast. Remember, this is a quickly moving medical story. The people who know the most and are honest are likely to give fewer definitive, unequivocal answers than those who are removed from the center but seem to know it all.