Soooooooo, I guess you've all heard about this little thing called 'swine flu', also known as Flu strain A (H1N1)? If you haven't, you obviously boycott the news, which I admit I have also started doing in recent months because in my opinion they cause a great deal of fear and panic where none is necessary. I became even further disgruntled with the media over their treatment of this whole Swine Flu thing. I'm not denying that things are bad in Mexico, a lot of people got sick down there and a lot of people died, but what I find is that the whole situation was not put into perspective. All the media did was recite numbers. 'So many thousands of people are sick and so many hundred have died'. My first reaction was 'YIKES, that's a whole heck of a lot of people!' But then I started thinking...how many millions of people live in Mexico City? And they're awful packed in there, there's a lot of pollution and a lot of poverty and people who can't get access to good medical services. Hmm...well, naturally a lot of people would get sick and a higher ratio of them would die. But of course, the media didn't state that. They just kept going on and on about how many more people were getting sick, how many more people had died and then: OH MY GOD, IT'S SPREADING!!! And this is a strain of flu that we've never had before, so we have no natural defenses against it!!!
So okay...you know how you sometimes catch the flu? When you catch the flu it's because it's a strain you've never had before. Every time you catch the flu, that's why. The only way you can form antibodies against the flu, other than getting the flu vaccine, is to catch it. And odds are, if you catch the flu, you won't die from it, even if the media says hundreds of people already have. There are thousands of deaths from the flu all over the world every year, people catch the flu every year, I caught it two years ago and was sick as Hell over Christmas, I missed mass, had a fever for five days straight, then was so wiped out I had to stay in bed for two more, but guess what? I'm still alive, perfectly healthy and when that same strain of flu went through my office this past year I didn't get it. Yet, the lady who works two cubicles down from me and had gotten the flu vaccine did. Why? Because the vaccine was against the flu strain the government had projected would be most widespread this year and the one going through my office was of the supposedly less widespread strain. So, go out and get the swine flu vaccine as soon as it comes out if you like, but you know, you just might get the flu anyhow...just not swine flu. As for me, I'm not panicking. If I catch the flu, I catch the flu. I won't go running after it, I won't purposely breathe in anyone's sneezes or coughs or not wash my hands after going to the washroom or refrain from using hand sanitizer after having to stand on the bus or subway and holding a post that a couple of hundred people have already touched before me, but I will not, as I found out many, many people have been doing, stock up on masks and hand sanitizer like the Plague is coming. Because no matter how much people try to say they're not panicking, I normally don't have to ask a pharmacy employee if they have Purel left only to be told that there was a run on that and masks and that my one hope is their generic brand of hand sanitizer in the travel format section. Folks, I'm pretty sure that generic hand sanitizer is just as effective as Purel. If you don't believe that, you'd better steer clear of me because that's all I've been using after riding the bus for the past week without a mask.
The bottom line is that yes, this is a new strain of flu that no one had ever had when it first appeared. This does mean that more people will catch it than usual, so that also means that there will be more deaths from it than usual since these two things would logically go hand. But folks, it's still just the flu. It's not SARS or the Plague, it's not a death sentence it's just the flu, so be logical about it :o)