Tuesday, April 28, 2009
So, we're having flashbacks to the swine flu fiasco of 1976. That was the last time that people panicked so that the government panicked so that they gave inoculations that ended up killing more people than the flu did!
I've been noticing a strange disconnect between this version of the flu and the facts about flu. In reality, quite a number of people die in the U.S. every year from a variety of flu types. This version is no different. The reason it seems different is because a number of people in Mexico have already died from this version, and the current flu vaccine doesn't carry antibodies for this type of flu. Okay. So what do we do? Act like it's SARS version 2 and walk around wearing surgical masks? Go ahead.
How about this? If you're sick, stay home from work or school. Instead of thinking you are brave or saving up your sick pay or PTO or vacation, use the hours and avoid spreading the virus! I hate it when parents send their kids to school because they "can't afford to miss a day", and they end up contaminating a bunch of other kids. If our children have so much homework that they can't miss a day, then that's another matter that needs to be addressed by our school boards and governments who think that passing a STAR test or a High School Exit Exam is a good determiner of future success. (Getting off track. Sorry. But I really hate the way schools do things these days!)
Another thing you can do is something quite novel: wash your hands. With soap. And warm water. For more than 5 seconds. I can't tell you how often I see someone leave a bathroom without stopping to wash his hands first. It's disgusting, it spreads disease, and...it's disgusting. (It's even worse than seeing someone talking on a cell phone while he is using the urinal! And that's another story to harp on some other time!)
Influenza is a virus. It can't really be killed easily, but its transmission can be halted. Just use some common sense, don't panic, and follow basic cleanliness regimes.
And for goodness sake, if you have the flu, STAY HOME!!! (And stay out of my office!)