Flu Mongering

I understand that it is news.

That people are dying and many more are being infected but why the fear mongering?

Are we so jaded and indifferent that it has to be calamitous for us to pay attention?


But the media does realize (I hope) that at some point, people will just stop listening.

Don’t they?

The Swine Flu has been in the news since it broke last week and that was pretty much all you heard about this morning.

Certain countries in the EU are advising people not to travel to Mexico, and California and Texas (though I was told that this has apparently been updated to include all of continental U.S.) This may or may not be true but it does seem a little outrageous- about as outrageous as what the U.S. media was hoping to find when they sent reporters to Toronto during the SARS outbreak in 2003. I don’t remember if the U.S. government was advising their citizens to curtail their visits to Canada but I will bet they did.

CNN had sent a crew to Toronto hoping to find people cowering in the streets, walking around with masks on. You will probably find more masks in heavily polluted areas in Asia on a typical day than you would have seen in Toronto during the height of the health scare. I only saw one guy wearing a mask. He stepped onto the subway car, everyone looked at him, raised their eyebrows and snickered. Not overtly, of course- we are Canadian after all!

The single best thing that one can do is wash their hands with soap and water. Perhaps you should wash up a little more often than usual but that is enough for most people. If you are really young, older or experiencing flu symptoms, staying home is a good idea. Avoid public areas if you are really concerned but you don’t need to be walking around in a hazmat suit.

Why is common sense such a rarity these days? We all need to step back a little bit.

More than 3000 people die from malaria EVERY day. Just over 100 people have died from this strain of flu. These deaths are all tragic but we need perspective. The sensational always garners the most attention but we all need to get a grip! 

A certain amount of gravitas is appropriate but do we really want people to run screaming down the street? As funny as that sight may be, extreme behaviour can be dangerous- and certainly counter-productive.

Awareness is good.

Paranoia is bad.

Let’s hope people swing to the side of caution and not crazy.


~ by angryegg on April 27, 2009.

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