Thursday, October 29, 2009

SWINE FLU IS BACK ON THE LOOSE, WREAKING HAVOC ON SOCIETY

Well, here we are near the end of October, and H1N1 (aka Swine Flu) is now on the loose and out there in pandemic form, exactly as people predicted would happen. It's actually getting to be pretty worrisome. Even though the bug's been around for the past several months, I never really worried about getting it, but now this flu bug is starting to hit a little too close to home for my liking.

A couple of weeks ago I was supposed to cover a couple of hockey games, but the whole thing was scrubbed because the school for the other team was hit with an outbreak of H1N1. Now I'm starting to hear the stories from people who know other people who have H1N1. Just today, there was some lady in front of me bragging at a checkout line about how she had H1N1 but recovered from it.

Well, great. Now, I'm really starting to worry that I'll end up the next one getting sick from H1N1 and miss all the important stuff I have to do at work. I worry, yet my area isn't even the worst hotspot in the country for this disease.

The media, of course, are helping spread the anxiety. Just this week, there was this very frightening story about this hockey dad in the Toronto area whose 13-year-old kid, apparently healthy, died of H1N1. There was also a story on 60 Minutes a little while ago about this football player who got H1N1 and was on a respirator. We're now hearing stories of more people at educational institutions calling in sick.

A lot of people are dismissing these reports as fearmongering by the media. Well, it is and it isn't. H1N1 may not end up quite as bad as it sounds, but it is surely out there, there's no doubt about it, and it's causing some damage. For people to dismiss it and say it's just hype is just irresponsible. I can't believe some of these people who are bragging about how they think this is all the media's fault and all a conspiracy to sell newspapers and get ratings, folks who also say they are going to avoid the vaccinations. Talk about a sure way to keep the pandemic going, this kind of reckless behavior.

I'm trying my best to avoid getting H1N1 by employing my usual tactic in such situations: avoiding any and all people. In a job like the one I have, though, it is incredibly difficult to avoid other human beings. If I must be around people, I'm trying to ensure they are as old as possible -- which is harder than it seems, even if you live in an area heavy with retirees. Apparently, the older people are supposed to have some immunity to H1N1.

I definitely want to avoid high school kids, that's a case of swine flu waiting to happen. These high schools are absolutely germ-ridden. I know, because I've been in them. Unfortunately, I sometimes cover high school football games and other sporting events involving high school kids -- and these sporting events seem to be absolute flu zones at the moment, with these players exposed to all these germs in the locker room. 

Another policy of mine is to avoid travelling on airplanes and any forms of public transit-- pretty easy for me to do right now, because I hate spending money on all forms of transportation, including my own car. Another good policy is to avoid eating in restaurants, which unfortunately is something I am having extreme trouble avoiding. What's worse, I go to a lot of banquets where a lot of food is served up for a lot of people, some of whom might have the flu and cough onto the main course.On top of that, I am a lousy cook and there are only so many TV dinners  I can handle.

I also wash my hands and use the hand sanitizer so much that I must have the cleanest hands of anyone I know. But what good does that do you? If you run out of hand sanitizer, guess where you have to go to replace it? That's right -- the drug store, and I consider those places to be absolute flu zones. Same goes for the doctor's offices and hospitals which are overrun with flu patients. Unfortunately, there's a mall in the city that has both (a) a drug store and (b) a big doctor's office in it. I consider that entire mall to be one big fat flu zone waiting to happen.

Of course, I did come down with a bad cold that didn't go away for a while, but that couldn't have been H1N1 because I felt too good. The way guys like Dr. Sanjay Gupta describe it, this flu bug absolutely makes you feel like you are close to death.

I am hoping to survive long enough to get my vaccination -- but these idiots here don't have enough supplies, apparently, so they may delay giving us our bleeping shots. Already we are hearing plenty of reports around the country of lineups, and of folks freaking out over vaccinations. You get the picture.

Anyway, all I will say is if you can find a nice, secure undisclosed location in which to hide out, now is a good time to find it. Make sure you stock up with lots of supplies and stay there until all the vaccinations show up.Then it'll be safe to show your face again in public and get one.

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