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Hospital Officials: Don’t Panic Over Swine Flu 

It’s easy to get caught up in the hysteria surrounding the swine flu scare, with all the precautions being taken this week to keep the virus from spreading.But experts say it’s just as important that people don’t panic.Amy Erickson has more.<"It is kind of scary for someone who doesn't have much of a clinical background, but really, it's a mild flu."Eastern Maine Medical Center Patient Care Administrator Karen Clements has two words for folks worried about becoming infected with the Swine Flu. Don't panic."People just need to take it in perspective. This is a very, very mild flu. We are not seeing the lethal side effects like we do with our regular flu season, our influenza a and influenza b. We lose over 35,000 people every year in the country to our regular flu season. We haven't seen one American death yet from this, and very, very few hospitalizations."Clements says while it's always a good idea to take precautions, coming down with this particular strain isn't necessarily the worst thing in the world."Yes, you're going to feel crappy for a couple of days with a fever and body aches, but the good side is, you're going to build immunities to this virus.""It's a great time of year to have a flu season. People can open their windows up. It's not mid-January."Clements says the scare is causing Mainers to pack local emergency rooms and walk-in clinics but not all of those folks really need to be there."We are seeing a significant amount of patients with 'nervous symptoms', like 'I was exposed to someone who just came back from Texas last week,' with no symptoms whatsoever, all the way to the folks who do have symptoms.""Hospital officials say if you come to the E-R or the walk in clinic and you have a cough and fever, you will be required to wear a mask. But that's actually something they normally do during the regular flu season as well."Clements is urging folks to stay away from the ER unless they're seriously ill.Most people just need a few days of bedrest at home.By going to the E-R, you're potentially exposing yourself to more germs."You're going to be sitting in a waiting room, cause it's very busy right now, sharing all kinds of germs with yourself and the family members you brought with you."Amy Erickson, WABI TV5 News.>