There were an alarming 100,000 new cases of swine flu recorded in the UK in the space of a just week, according to the latest figures from authorities there.
But despite a rise in swine flu cases here too – the figure for Ireland stood at 194 by the middle of last week – it is worth remembering that the vast majority of sufferers will likely need nothing more than a Lemsip or 10 and a few days of discomfort in their bed to recover.
As Dr Patricia Johnson, an expert in viral immunology at Dublin City University, points out, it is primarily those who are in "high-risk groups" (see panel), such as the under-fives, pregnant women and the over-65s, who are at serious risk from the disease.
For those of you outside of these groups who are determined to avoid catching the dreaded swine flu, below is a firmly tongue-in-cheek guide to keeping healthy.
Be warned: experts point out that, while it is worth taking precautions, the extreme scenario outlined below is more than a slight overreaction.
This is all the more true when you consider the possibility that, despite your best efforts, infection rates in the UK and elsewhere suggest you still have a pretty good chance of contracting the darned thing anyway.
You get up in the morning, head to the shower and have a healthy breakfast, perhaps coupled with some fresh garlic, known for its healing powers.
You say hello to your dog/flatmate/partner, and close the windows in your home which you left open overnight in order to "improve airflow in your living space" as the HSE advises.
All the while, you try to ignore the fact that it is freezing.
Next, you head for the door, making sure you bring a raincoat lest you get soaked in a shower, something which could lead to an immune-system-lowering cough or cold.
You step outside and walk the 60-minute route to work, thereby avoiding having to come into contact with other people on your more usual mode of transport, the bus/train/Luas.
Alternatively, it is simply too wet to do this, and you decide to brave public transport.
But you are ever vigilant, pulling a face mask out of your bag and ignoring the funny stares you get from your fellow passengers. You are sure you can feel several of them breathing down your neck in the sardine-can-type atmosphere.
So you keep an eagle eye out for anyone exhibiting the tell-tale signs of swine flu – a fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose – and prepare to dodge the droplets they expel when speaking, sneezing or coughing.
You try your utmost to comply with the "best-practice" advice that you should try to maintain a distance of at least one metre from an infected person.
This proves difficult, but you largely succeed after no small degree of pushing and shoving.
You arrive at work, relieved to have made it in one piece, and head to the kitchen.
Once there, you make sure to thoroughly wash not only your hands (preferably with an alcohol-based hand rub, although ordinary soap and water will do), but your coffee mug as well. Who knows who may have used it overnight.
The skin on your hands is already becoming quite raw, as you have been following best practice rather too enthusiastically by washing them every half an hour or so.
Your boss calls you into his/her office and asks you to take his place and attend a major conference in a nearby hotel.
You begin to panic, knowing that being in a such a confined, crowded space for a prolonged period goes against the 'top tips' advocated by the HSE and others.
So you cry off, pretending you have a doctor's appointment and hoping your boss does not notice you blush.
The boss buys it, and you breathe a sigh of relief.
Of course, you have no intention of going near the potential hothouse of infection that is your doctor's surgery.
Instead, you take your flask of soup and sit on a bench in a nearby park, soaking in the fresh air.
You consider going to the cinema as you are not due back at work until after lunch.
Eventually, you choose not to go, after worrying about the risk of infection, even at a midday showing in a movie theatre which is likely to be largely empty.
Instead, now feeling guilty for shying off work, you decide to go to mass to atone for your sins.
You calculate that, by going to a large cathedral rather than a small local church, it should be possible to ensure you sit on an empty (or near empty) pew.
Of course, shaking hands during the 'sign of the peace', receiving communion and/or drinking from the wine chalice is simply out of the question.
So you slip out of the service early, before it gets to this point.
Back at work, you sit in front of your computer and make sure to wipe down the surface of your desk, your telephone and your computer keyboard with those disinfectant wipes you bought in the supermarket.
You finish up for the day and decide to join your colleagues for an after-work drink in your local pub.
This is only after a firm commitment (in writing) from the others in the group of four, all of whom appear healthy, that they will remain in its spacious, relatively people-free outdoor smoking area at all times. You get your coat.
There is no point in being antisocial, despite the obvious risks, you think.
And anyway, it beats sitting in a packed lecture hall for your twice-weekly college night course, which you have been bunking off for weeks now for "health reasons".
You try not to engage in a lengthy conversation with the barman, despite his chatty demeanour, rationalising that people in his line of work must come into contact with hundreds of potentially infected punters every day.
Against your best intentions, you end up at a local nightclub, but loiter near the less populated entrance area.
You take your cue to leave when the DJ plays the traditional slow set, and marvel at the sheer recklessness of those who take to the floor, sometimes with complete strangers. God knows what viral infections they are carrying, the swines.
You arrive home by taxi, after a lengthy conversation with your driver as to why you deem it necessary to wear a mask in his cab.
As you lie in your bed, you think of all the potential scenarios for contracting swine flu which you have managed to avoid throughout the day.
But you try not to think too hard, aware that if you do so you may undo all of your good work.
Because you know that another important way to avoid swine flu is to practise "good health habits".
This includes getting a good night's sleep, you remember, before turning off the light.
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You turn on your computer and type the
words swine flu 1976 President Ford into
google search engine.
Now you can relax and have a good nights