Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Sky is Falling!

This just in from CLN, the Chicken Little Network.


The H1N1 flu is spreading like WILDFIRE! ALL of humanity is in grave danger. FEAR FOR YOUR VERY SOULS!

Ok, ok. I'll admit. I listened to the news reports today. Is it just me, or does the whole of the media seem to be chomping at the bit for this pandemic to start? At least the folks at NPR let their expert say that we should not panic. I watched a couple of news reports that sounded like the end was indeed near for life as we know it. And the ever moronic Rush Limbaugh tried to make it into a Democrat Disease! Sadly, people believe him. Most notably one of my states politicians, Michelle (I knew it was their fault all along) Bachman.

We've stepped up our preparedness at the hospital I'm at, including cleaning out our one and only negative pressure room in anticipation of the big event. I don't know what exactly we're supposed to do if we get more than one patient presenting with symptoms at a time... but that will work itself out in the end I suppose.

What is really humorous to me is listening to the planet trying to come up with a name for this particular flu strain. We here in the US are either calling it the H1N1 novel virus, or the 2009 H1N1 Influenza Strain (that's easy to say for patients presenting with symptoms.) I guess we can't call it Swine Flu because for those few dozen people left who don't know what it is, it could alter their consumption of pork.

My favorite shudder inducing name comes from the EU, who want to call it the Mexican Flu. Because it's insulting to pig farmers to call it Swine Flu. Apparently they don't mind insulting the entire population of Mexico!

We've had our states first confirmed case just today. I'm guessing it won't be the last. The media has done a fine job of trying to stir the general populace into a frenzy. I'm just not jumping on board.

Now, I'm not saying it isn't serious. All influenza has the potential to be deadly. But the Swine Flu can't be caught by eating pig. It may spread through the entire population of the planet, but it just isn't a species ender like some news reports would make it seem. You want to stay safe? Get your sleep, eat healthy, take some vitamin C. And for goodness sake, wash your hands! Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough. And don't travel if you aren't feeling well! It's really very common sense stuff. But unlike me, common sense seems to have taken a long vacation. (My guess is to Mexico... probably Cancun)

Just for a tiny bit of perspective. The Swine Flu has caused 1 death in the US so far. And that was a Mexican resident who came up here for treatment far too late. In the US 115 people are killed in car accidents... every day. Five to ten people are killed each year fishing. And that's just commercial fishing, not even counting the boating accidents on US waterways. Heck, you are more likely to be killed by a snakebite or eaten by a bear or a shark than suffer death by Swine Flu. Where is the outcry for protection from these killers!?!

Until the whole thing blows over though, watch out for scammers and the Chicken Little freaks that would try and play on your fears. FDR said it best. There is nothing to fear but fear itself.

More Later


clan martinez said...

"Two-thousand-nine H1N1 Influenza Strain" = T.H.I.S.

It's an easier acronym than MRSA! Oh, wait. Could still be confusing, though:

"This patient needs help"

"Oh no! Isolate him immediately! Is he vomitting?"

"Um, no - there's an ice pick in his head"

"But you said..."

Sharon said...

Good advice, Doc. It's really too bad some want to sensationalize the issue. It will be a little hard to convince anyone, should the need ever arise, that we are indeed in danger. A little like crying wolf?