Wednesday, October 21, 2009

the H1N1 pandemic paranoia

I work in health research, so of course the media spectacle of H1N1 has caught my eye. Just today, here are some of my favourite stories:


Firstly, the head of medicine my alma matter (no, I did not go to the medical portion of the school) wants you to "fist bump" in order to prevent the flu. Yes, that's right, he wants to replace the handshake with the fist bump. Some pros that I see are that you won't be judged by the firmness of your handshake, you don't have to worry about sweaty palms, and of course, you won't have to worry about where that hand has been. Sure, it might look ridiculous at first, but it might just revolutionize the greeting!

Secondly, I would now like to call it the turkey flu instead of the swine flu with the news that a heard of turkeys (yes, I'm sure it isn't called that but I just don't care) has been infected with H1N1. Don't worry, these Ontario turkeys pose minimal risk, but I would have loved to see the pandemonium if this had happened before Thanksgiving!


Thirdly, Health Canada has now approved the H1N1/swine flu/turkey flu vaccine for use here. The trials of the vaccine just started this week, the results won't be available until next year, but don't you worry, the vaccine is available! (yes it is likely safe, but what we don't know is whether or not it is really effective)

Am I afraid of the dreaded swine flu? Not really. It is the flu. I will not lose sleep over a virus (well, unless it is ebola of course). If I get it, well, that really sucks. No one wants the flu and I hate getting sick. But I will NOT get all paranoid over this flu or any other flu. I think the paranoia might be classified as a pandemic rather than the actual disease...

That being said, will I get the vaccination? Probably. So far, most of the people who have had serious issues with this flu in Canada are young, female, otherwise healthy, and aboriginal. The only one of those things I'm not is aboriginal. Plus, I have asthma and apparently this particular flu is pretty hard on your respiratory system (as are most flus, but this one is especially bad).

What else will I be doing? Well, I'll be paying more attention to hand washing and hand sanitizing. Also, I'll be more careful about touching my face when I've been in public places.

How do you all feel about the H1N1 media storm? Are you afraid of the flu? Do you plan on getting vaccinated?

9 comments:

Heather said...

I can't decide... I think I should because of my job, but I've never been one to get vaccines before.

Devo said...

Everyone should get it, unless you are allergic to eggs.

lu said...

i was actually going to ask you about your opinion on this. yours is one opinion i trust on such matters.

i agree about the paranoia about this one though. seems that the bark is worse than the bite in this case.

but i am afraid i will not be fist bumping with you when i see you next, a good, old hug will surely be in order!!

k said...

My take on it is that the vaccine won't hurt you (unless you are allergic to eggs, or unless you are one of the very rare people who has some sort of strange reaction to it...but you run that risk any time you get any vaccine) so if you are able to get it, do it.

lu said...

i have never debated getting a jab before, but this one has made me think for some reason. i think it is because i wonder what the likelihood and reality of the actual illness is. but i just assume that getting polio is very very bad and that i should be vaccinated against it.

interesting times, at the very least!

Katie said...

I have asthma too, and getting even a cold can send me right down the tubes! I think the media hype following N1H1 has been overly dramatic. I have started trying to be better about making sure my hands are clean and keeping them away from face. For some reason, keeping my hands out my face seems to be a real challenge for me. I don't think I'll get the vaccination. I get nervous about new vaccinations. I don't know why. I'll probably change my mind a dozen time!

Reverend Joyleaf said...

Don't get it! You'll get the Autism!!!

Just kidding. I get a flu shot every year (at work). Probably a good idea since I'm coughing and sneezing and licking all over your mail.

k said...

That's the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine that gives you autism...

(and NO, NO IT DOES NOT...in fact, I've had to look at a LOT of research that shows that it doesn't and the one study that showed a potential link has some serious holes in it...as does the researcher)

kris said...

My plan is to only touch other people (and things) with my right hand and only touch myself with my left.

I also think Lynn & I should get the flu shot since we're both in contact with the general public a lot. Until then I'm relying on plan A to keep me safe.