Saturday, May 2, 2009

Swine Flu

Is it just me, or does the Swine Flu hysteria sound just a little bit like the children's story in which an entire community follows the lead of a chicken who thinks the sky is falling?


I am by no means an infectious diseases specialist, although I do have some experience in the field as the mother of four children and a church school teacher.

However, this is what I know about Swine Flu.

It's the flu. And while the flu may be unpleasant, it doesn't kill most people who catch it. 

It's a virus that is passed along from person to person just like other viruses. You can't get it by eating a bacon cheeseburger unless the person who prepared the bacon cheeseburger has the virus and sneezed on the bun.

Influenza related deaths number 36,000 in the U.S. annually. Influenza A, which is the new name for Swine Flu, has killed one person in the U.S., and that person was actually from Mexico.

Now, I'm not saying that Influenza A is something I'd like to experience in my home, and I'm not saying that we shouldn't wash our hands and use common sense preventative measures to stop its spread. 

But, people. The sky is not falling. Please stop watching so much cable news which blows events and issues out of proportion and dramatizes the news just to keep people tuned in 24 hours a day.

During the course of the week, misinformation about Swine Flu caused damage to U.S. exports and a down turn in commodities markets from pork to wheat. It caused people to flood emergency rooms and delay treatment to people who really needed it because doctors were busy pacifying mothers of children with the common cold. It caused soccer moms to pass by the pork chops at the grocery store. It caused my second grade daughter to come home from school and inform me that a pig in Mexico was going to make us all sick.

Quite frankly, the speed at which the hysteria swept the nation frightens me much more than the flu itself.


17 comments:

Dad said...

Hi,Er--As with most manufactured crises; this one can be best understood if you FOLLOW THE MONEY.
Who benefits from the hysteria?
See ya--Dad

Susan said...

Amen, Erin!

We farmers will definitely not benefit from this.

Suz

Ann from Montana said...

I haven't had cable or sat tv for nearly 6 years. I can get our local news if I feel like it, but mostly I skim online news - and that is usually just briefly once a day. It is interesting the different perspective I get reading the news vs hearing it.

Oh, "we" are now to call it H1N1. I've been seeing this and thought it funny that all seemed to make the switch at once. A friend today told me that WHO put this in place after "Egypt" slaughtered a whole lot of pigs.

As you say, the speed of the hysteria is far scarier than the cause. Common sense takes a vacation...

Dawn said...

Now, (thanks to H1N1) who is in favor of sweeping healthcare reforms? You know, reforms that would better care for all those people who flood the ER because they can't pay for healthcare otherwise?

Oh, and I think your dad and my dad may be brothers - they think alike!

Blessings!

Pony Girl said...

Well said. I was fearful at first, mostly because I thought the virus was deadly, but it has proven to be more mild.
That being said, I do think we are on the verge, perhaps not in ours but in our childrens' lifetimes, of a superbug pandemic. We are too "over-antibacterialized" of a nation. Children have too many allergies. Parents are keeping their kids home not because they are sick, but to "err on the side of caution." Without exposure to every day germs and the building up of immunity, and the overuse of antibiotics, at some point we won't be able to fight off these viruses so easily. Or maybe I've been watching too much T.V., too! ;) And I should mention my hands are cracking from the overuse of hand sanitizer right now!

Kelly said...

Well said *clap, clap, clap*

Carroll Farm said...

Hi, just popped over from Pony Girl. Yes I agree with her completely. I teach, and am a mother of 5, and received many calls from parents asking me to use more sanitizer. It is really scary how fast people panic. I just make my kids keep their hands out of their mouths and use soap. They are pretty healthy. It was fun reading your blog. I believe that you need to share some weather with us - we have already been hitting 100!

The Ransom Family said...

Amen! My husband and I just picked up a hog for our nephews 4-H project, it was hauled up from Texas. My extended family is from the city and they all about flipped when we told them where it came from (they dont understand it is currently transmitted human to human)...Oh the hysteria, when will it end?!

Ann from Montana said...

I just saw the first segment of CBS Face the Nation with Bob Schiffer. Dr. Besser, Sec'y of Health..., and the Homeland Security person were on. Most questions were deferred to Dr. Besser. It seemed a very concise review with no drama (a little on a few questions from Schiffer) of what is currently known.

Face the Nation is available as a podcast - Google "Fact the Nation" if you'd like to have a listen. I believe the podcast will be available either later today or tomorrow morning.

Hope said...

AMEN and well said! Its the flu folks - people catch it every single year!

Anne said...

Hey Erin, as someone that works in the swine industry.......THANK YOU for your support. Our export markets are essential to producers right now, especially since they already are experiencing tough times in the markets.

Kath said...

I am very tired of the media. Period. Dont beleive a word from them so no longer waste a moments time on them.

But if I leave the house and go anywhere there will be a tv somewhere blasting all the drama the media circus has drudged up. So I still recieve way more info than I care to. Ugh.

I hope this doesnt hurt all the farmers too bad.

Jenny said...

I hate this. Part (most) of me says don't worry about it, it's all going to pass over.

Then I remember the Stephen King book/movie The Stand. And see that the New Mexico Activities Association has shut down all extracurricular events (including the state track meet and state baseball tourney, both of which our rural school is in), and a little panic sets in towards the back of my mind. Good thing cheer tryouts were last week or else that would have been cancelled, too.

And a greater part of me says it's the gov't trying to make us panic so they can push thru their real motive (sneeze-nationalizedhealthcare--cough). LOL! Oops, sorry. My personal opinion only.

Too bad it didn't cancel the school's spring program tonight. Now I'll have to endure 2 hours of kids singing along with a CD. I don't mind seeing my own kids perform. But that's about it. LOL!

Anonymous said...

Erin, well said!

Sandy

Heidi said...

PREACH IT SISTER!!! HALL - A - LOU - YA!!!! LOL I think things are hyped like this on purpose, I really do - sorry to sound like a conspericy person... but dang this wreaks havoc with farmers....

Farm Fresh Jessica said...

I'll say! I totally fell for it at first, and then I did a little research, instead of listening to the drive-bys, which is what I HAD been doing when I posted how freaked out I was. I'm glad you were smart enough to not be 'taken' in the first place...

Hope you ended up having a great birthday celebration! You do have some swell kiddos!

Julia in Sweden said...

Couldn't have said it better myself. A colleague at work came up to me yesterday and said that her fifteen year old daughter had been in bed with fever for four days - should she have her tested for swine flu? "Well", I said, "has she been to Mexico recently?" "No." "Has she been in contact with anyone who had been to Mexico or any other country where swine flu has been found?" "No." "Well then", I said, "she probably has a cold. Lay low for a couple of days, and if she should get worse in the next day or two, call a doctor to see what he says. I seriously doubt that she would have caught swine flu by a random act".
When she left I just thought to myself, what's with this hysteria? If I for one second thought that it was spreading and killing people like a bad virus movie, then I would keep my baby home from kindergarten, but her reaction was a little over the top...

 
Blog Directory - Blogged