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Psychologist urges calm over swine flu

A clinical psychologist is urging the Manx public not to over-react to the possiblity of a swine flu pandemic.

Dr Helen Nightingale says it's natural for people to be anxious about the situation, but panic is unhelpful.

The World Health Organisation raised the level of alert to five yesterday, indicating a pandemic was likely.

However, the Manx government has responded quickly, with officials saying the Island is well placed to deal with whatever happens.

Dr Nightingale says for those who are prone to anxiety, it's important to challenge irrational thinking.

She told Manx Radio:

"There is no evidence at this point in time that anything catastrophic is going to happen.

"It is flu, and we have no evidence whatsoever.

"So people need to stay with the evidence that's been given to them, from the radio and from the [other] media.

"Evidence is important to justify, [and] to challenge negative thinking patterns.

"So panic must not occur and people must not allow themselves [to panic], or model inappropriate panic behaviour to their children."

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