Beware of the Swine

Monday, May 4, 2009

I am finding the whole swine flu issue to be extremely interesting. Well, I'm actually more interested in the public's reaction to it than I am in the flu itself.

Sure, when you hear about an outbreak, or worse, a pandemic, it's a bit scary. Because in all likelihood, with the way our current society uses and abuses antibiotics (I used to work in a pharmacy, so I know all about that, and don't even get me started), there is bound to be a super bug that comes along and kills a LOT of people some day. I just don't think swine flu is going to be the bug to do it.

But, of course, the media turns everything into a huge deal, even if it's not.

My favorite example of the media frenzy surrounding the swine flu occurred last week. I turned on the morning news to hear: "First U.S. Swine Flu Death Confirmed." It was sad to hear that an infant had passed away, and the news kept going on and on about how big of a deal it was that someone from the United States had died.

When I got home from work that day, I turned on the evening news, only to find out that the infant who died was actually a Mexican baby who was visiting Texas. She had not received the medical care she should have, and had basically just come over the border from Mexico. So, I mean... does that really qualify as a "U.S. death"? I don't think so. But leave it to the media to take something and run with it.

Truthfully, I think this swine flu thing has been blown completely out of proportion. From what I've seen and read (repeatedly, since it's such a huge story), this flu is no more dangerous than the regular strains of flu that circulate every year. So why are people freaking out?

Wash your hands. Often. Try to reduce the amount of times you touch your eyes. Keep your distance from people who are ill.

Isn't this all common sense? C'MON, America. Get a hold of yourselves. This isn't the bubonic plague.


Allison May 4, 2009 at 10:32 PM  

Amen. If they hadn't given the virus the widely recognizable name that they did, people at large would have just assumed it was a tough strain of flu...which is exactly what it is.

Sara May 5, 2009 at 3:33 AM  

OK so I work as an RN and as such, have been bombarded with questions about the Swine flu. Each and every time I tell them IT'S JUST THE FLU!! THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF STRANDS OF THE FLU! The thing that freaks people out is that there isn't yet a vaccine for this particular strain of the flu yet, although the traditional flu shot is changed each year to reflect the three most common strains from the previous year, but that's a whole different can of worms

Vanessa May 5, 2009 at 7:00 AM  

Totally the government's way of steering attention away from the fact that they messed up the economy (in the UK, at least - sadly Gordon Brown is no Obama). V weird though - one of the two London schools shut down is my old high school! We can see it from my boyfriend's window. Too strange.
Normal hygiene measures are more than enough, but I think the virus will spread much more in places like the UK where people use public transport much more than in the States and which is more densely populated. We are literally crushed in the underground like sardines. Lovely.

jenn May 5, 2009 at 2:07 PM  

Exactly. Don't people die from the "regular" flu every year?

I'm sure this happens where you are from, too, but in WI whenever it snows it starts off as an inch and by the time the newscast is over it is up to a foot. Seriously??

Alison,  May 5, 2009 at 9:11 PM  

Ohhh, this stuff drives me nuts! Did you know there were more than a 1,000 cases of TB in the states in 2007? I mean, I'm just saying... I live in Texas and our school district is closed all this week because of swine flu. Sigh.

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