rm (rm) wrote,

swine flu - the biggest threat may be people panicking about it

via zarq:
"NPR's Joanne Silberner has confirmed from a source in a direct position to know that the World Health Organization will raise its pandemic alert level from 4 to 5. Announcement in Geneva at 5PM ET."

Okay, now don't panic.

No, really.

All this means is that everyone is acknowledging a lot of people are going to get this flu. Yes, this flu has killed some people. The flu kills people every year. A lot of people. Right now the mortality rates and patterns are unclear, but truly, this may be no more risky than any other flu.

HOWEVER, it takes months (at the minimum) to develop new flu vaccines, which means in terms of prevention, your immune system is on its own and it's not prepared. Elderly people, young children and those with compromised immune systems might be at more risk. But maybe not; there's also speculation that those with healthy immune system might be at higher risk because this flu may cause the body to attack itself. The fact is, we just don't know right now, and what you should do is the stuff you always mean to do to protect yourself during flu season but never bother with.

Use common sense. Wash your hands. Don't touch your face. And do not freak out if you start sneezing -- it's allergy season. Also, colds don't come with fevers. If you get something with a fever, take it seriously and try to minimize your contact with others.

If you can walk to work instead of taking mass transit, that's a good plan. If you share a keyboard with others at work, spray it with disinfectant before you sit down to work.

Right, now the real issue is that this is probably the point in which jackasses are going to start panicking.

Remember all that stuff I told you to do when there was concern about the economy collapsing and we'd all be living in tents and I said the problem wasn't the economy (which yes, was and is fucked but not apocalyptically, largely because we've refused to allow it to be -- but whether we should have let it crash and burn is another discussion for another time) but idiots who thought civilization was about to end?

Same drill.

Have the non-prescription stuff you like to take to treat cold or flu in the house. Get face masks now if you're really concerned. Keep your freezer full. Always have at least $100 in small bills in your home.

The world is not going to end and people you know are probably not going to die of this thing. However, the world might be about to get very annoying and you may see sporadic spikes of violence as people have fights at the drugstore over the last packet of face masks. Don't let this be you, eh?
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