Don’t trust rumors

Published 4:31 pm Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The word rumor is defined as “a piece of unverified information of uncertain origin usually spread by word of mouth.”

In our newspaper, we may ask our sources whether rumors are true or not, but we try to never print anything that isn’t verified or doesn’t come from an official source. Rumors are a bit of a gamble, because if a person acts on belief that one is true, and it turns out to be false, damage can be done. It’s wise to do a little fact-checking before taking a rumor as the truth, especially when it counts.

Rumors about the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, possibly being in Decatur County have been circulating for about a week now. There’s been confirmed cases in adjoining Early County and nearby Thomas County, so it’s only a matter of time before the virus spread to here. But it’s important not to panic; while it’s highly contagious, H1N1 affects most people with mild to moderate flu-like symptoms, which can be treated at home. Pregnant women, children under the age of 5 and people with pre-existing or chronic health problems are at a higher risk for flu complications but they too can be treated effectively with antiviral medicine.

School Superintendent Ralph Jones said school officials are taking a flexible approach to working with the parents and guardians of children who fall ill during this time. Jones recommends that sick kids be kept at home until they get better, but that doesn’t mean they will be penalized for missing class or isolated from their peers, as rumors have implied.

If you have questions about how flu is being handled, don’t hesitate to call your child’s school or the Board of Education office at 248-2200. More information about dealing with H1N1 can be found online at www.southwestgeorgiapublichealth.org or www.flu.gov, or you can call the Decatur County Health Department at (229) 248-3055.