Good Lord, I'm tired of the hysteria over H1N1, commonly (and poorly) referred to as "swine flu." It's getting downright silly. On my way into work this morning, I saw some jackass speeding down I-35 wearing a surgical mask in his own car. The travel department at work announced yesterday that they would make available surgical masks to anyone that was getting on an airplane. A PR agency is handing out earnest (and unsolicited) advice that urges companies to "provide information that informs their employees that the company is monitoring the situation." Seriously? Any idiot with a TV, radio, or web connection is monitoring the situation, whether they want to or not.
Let's get a grip, folks. This ain't that serious. As a former member of the media, I can assure you that there's nothing that puts a gleam in a TV producer's eye like the prospect of some exotic disease with maybe the potential for possible harm. Here's a few things to keep in mind:
- Whatever Joe Biden says, disregard. This jackass obviously suffers from chronic foot-in-mouth disease.
- Generally speaking, journalists were the kids who flunked out of biology class. Learning about and explaining health stories takes a lot of time, and let's face it -- our media and the public at large -- isn't willing to take the time to get it right. It's the era of 140-character Twitter posts, after all.
- Mad Cow Disease, Bird Flu, SARS, West Nile Virus, Lyme Disease, Ebola -- remember those? They were supposed to kill us all, too.
- So say I'm wrong on all this, and we all come down with the flu. What happens? I feel shitty for a few days, I lay around at home and get my fill of The Price Is Right, and I go back to living my life. Of course, the elderly and those with compromised immunity systems are in much greater jeopardy, but not any more so than with the "typical" flu.
- Thankfully, there are plenty of places to get sane information if you take the time. Let's use some common sense for a change.