Just wash your hands!

I have four words for the masses regarding the swine flu, and they are: “Give me a break!”

I admit, that when the whole thing began, I was a little nervous. I would be fine during the day but then I would go home and see the news, and people were totally wigging out. Last week, many drugstores here  sold out of their supplies of anti-virals. That means that doctors here were prescribing them for people who weren’t sick and might not even become sick.

A few schools have been closed here, to the point that my students haven’t been coming to class, even though it’s adult education and we just use the building of a school that has not been closed.

Sure, I got a little creeped out when I saw the reports about how fast the virus was spreading, but I managed to get over it. More and more the evidence is that if you take reasonable precautions (wash your hands! don’t touch your face!) you will probably be fine. My issue is that otherwise reasonable people are jumping on this bandwagon.

Otherwise intelligent people are citing that the virus has appeared in and even killed people who are not poor, not very old, and not very young. This is true, but these particular fatalities are not in the U.S. And a virus can appear in anyone. It’s just less likely to kill you if you are a younger healthy adult. There are so many factors in whether or not something like this virus is going to kill you.

I had one person ask me if I had been to Mexico city, telling me that he had and that it was a big modern city, as if that somehow proved that Mexico has medical care on a par with the U.S. It may be that there are good medical services available there, but think about it: in the U.S. we have some of the best medical facilities in the world, but only a small percentage of people can actually get the best in health care. How do you think it is in Mexico? My students from Mexico City (and elsewhere in the country) have told me several times that living in Mexico is not the same as here. Most of the population struggles for daily life.  Think about what this means for living conditions, nutrition, and a person’s overall health over his or her lifetime. Even the poor in the U.S. tend to have a better quality of life than many people in Mexico.

Now you all know me, and know I’m not the type to go around ranting that “America rules!” all the time. But the fact remains that conditions in Mexico and other countries are not the same as conditions here. How a person’s body responds to things like medication, infections, and other stimuli depends on many factors. Surely lifestyle plays a part in these factors. I mean, someone could just be reluctant to seek medical attention until it is too late! For example,  Jim Henson died of a curable illness because he wouldn’t got to the doctor! How can people not think about this stuff before they just go around believing everything they read or see on TV?!

So wash yer freakin’ hands frequently, take care of yourself and take yer vitamins, don’t wait until you are in respiratory distress before you go to the doctor, and you should be fine. Geez.

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3 comments to Just wash your hands!

  • Newton the Koala

    At the risk of being one of those “otherwise intelligent people”,
    your argument is cogent, but for one fact that is not.

    This virus has struck young, healthy folk disproportionately.
    That is a hallmark of the Spanish Flu and SARS.

    This in conjunction with its unprecedented genetic makeup
    is the real reason there is so much official attention.

    One reference for this would be: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/05/health/05well.html (http://www NULL.nytimes NULL.com/2009/05/05/health/05well NULL.html)
    (please forgive the last paragraph)

    I return you to your regularly scheduled common sense … 😉


  • midnightferret (http://www NULL.midnightferret NULL.com)

    I see your point, but I must point out that my post wasn’t an argument, it was a rant. :) Therefore, its so-called cogency isn’t relevant, as most rants are illogical. Illogical, I tell you!

    Also, true the nature of the virus is cause for concern, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be fatal in those young healthy people. I never meant to imply that younger people couldn’t get the virus. I only meant to say that I thought that even though anyone can get sick, and it’s kind of scary, people shouldn’t totally wig out. It just makes things worse.

    I mean, don’t wait until you are in respiratory distress and your lips are blue to seek medical attention, since by that point you’ve got a relatively low chance of survival. Still, unless you get a rapid spike of or moderate level of fever, can’t hold water down, or go into respiratory distress, don’t think you are going to die at any second. Or, in the lingo of today’s youth: I was just sayin’! :)

  • Newton the Koala

    My father has a sign in his office that reads:

    I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant.

    Don’t totally wig out.
    Got it.

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