Swine Flu: Threat or Technique?

Who’s afraid of the swine flu?

Since school started this fall every one of my professors has warned us of the swine flu procedures in place. Evidently health specialists predict that schools will close for weeks at a time as students fall in TB-like numbers.

I attend a law school attached to a sometimes-climbing, occasionally-inept university. Today students received an email advising i part:

Another simple way to prevent contracting or spreading influenza is to exercise good personal hygiene and avoid contact with others if you become ill:

1. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
2. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
4. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
5. Stay home when you are sick and avoid public or social settings.
6. Practice good health habits; Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

Normally I chuckle at fear-mongering techniques as a shepherding advice.  The specific draw of H1N1 hits a nerve though; it seems to be the year of the 18-30 year old.  This demographic bolstered and elected our President; this demographic suffered the most in this economic crisis; and it is this demographic experts predict will bear the brunt of whichever pandmic finally hits — avian or swine or fear.

What do you think?  Swine flu, a pandemic problem for our inchoate working class?  Solution to the employment crisis, when we all suddenly find temp-to-perm jobs?  Or, more likely, intentional fear-mongering to keep health — and thus health care — at the forefront of voters’ minds?

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1 Comment

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One response to “Swine Flu: Threat or Technique?

  1. A big part of the problem is ignorance. The public generally doesn’t know how many people die from flu a year nor does it pay particular attention to the typical severity of the flu. So, when statistics like “90,000 to die this year” come out, it sounds like a lot. While it may be above normal, it is still within the same magnitude of typical numbers of death from the flu. Honestly, I’d like to know whether the vaccine companies are getting some sort of immunity/indemnity for rushing the flu vaccine, given that the last time we tried to do this during the Ford Administration, more people died from the vaccine than from the actual flu.

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