Archive for the ‘Swine flu’ Category

Swine ‘flu: practical information please

July 14, 2009

Authorites talk to us in emotional terms about swine ‘flu: take it seriously but don’t panic. OK got that, but how about some more practical information so we can take our own initiatives effectively?

– Everybody knows one should not cough and sneeze over others. But stop shaking hands, stand apart from each other, keep washing your hands: this is what would really change behaviours. How about an imaginative PR campaign to convince people to change their habits?

– If you think you have swine ‘flu, call your doctor but don’t go to the surgery, they say. But how do you get medicines? Which ones can be bought over the counter? If you need a prescription, how do you get it from your doctor? Do you have to send someone round to fetch it? Does the doctor put it in the mail? If so, what do you do during the 48 hours or so it takes to get your hands on the medicine? Groan?

– If you catch swine ‘flu now, how much immunity do you have and how long does it last? Doctors merely warn against deliberately trying to catch it. Fair enough. But for those of us who have obligations in the outside world, it would be useful to know to what extent one is protected.

Answers anybody? Give us power to act responsibly.

Swine flu or not swine flu?

June 20, 2009

I have been in England and for the last three days I had a sore throat, felt wretched, and had a sense of chills. So have I had swine flu? There have been cases reported not so far away.  But who could tell? I was not ill enough to bother a doctor, let alone report into some hospital for anti-virals or whatever. Most people suffering from this flu are said to have mild symptons.

So who is to know who has had it or not? The cases¬† reported in official statistics are said to be mostly mild. So surely the statistics wildly under-report the numbers. I have seen one estimate that 7% of Americans have already caught it. That’s about 20 million!

Maybe it is better to catch the mild summer version, since when it returns in the autumn and winter, it is likely to be stronger. Perhaps having a dose now will immunise me partly against another attack? In which case, why do health authorities go to such lengths isolating victims and pumping anti-virals into all their kith and kin? Could this even by counter-productive?

It would be nice if the WHO, instead of agonising over levels of pandemic, would offer a little more practical advice.

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