Thursday, 6 August 2009

I'm NOT Afraid of Some Swine!!

First I'd like to begin with a quote from good ol' Noam Chomsky

"You need something to frighten people with, to prevent them from paying attention to what's really happening to them."

That's from Chompsky's book The Common Good and every time I hear a bloody report about Swine Flu that quote echos in my head.

What great timing this pandemic had. We're in an economic crisis with banks failing, people losing their retirement not to mention their homes and jobs and I haven't even brushed the surface of all that is taking place internationally.

But stop the presses people are getting the flu and some are even dying of it!! Excuse me for asking but isn't there a strain of flu that goes around EVERY year? And aren't the young, the very old and those with significant health problems at risk of possibly dying from the flu virus EVERY year? So far the UK has had (gasp) over 30 people die from Swine Flu and almost every person who 'died from' the virus had pre-existing serious health problems. In addition (and correct me if I'm wrong) but wasn't there a Swine Flu scare back in the 70's? And what ever happened to SARS, MMR or Bird Flu? We were all significantly scared by those too but what was this fear really distracting us from?

Yesterday I actually thought I would go an entire day without hearing about Swine Flu in the news. I sat on my sofa with a fever hacking and wheezing with this COLD that I have (I'm not giving into the Swine Flu fad) and innocently watching the end of Midsomer Murders when the ITV News came on. It was three stories in, but there it was dammit! Doctors fear that fatal illnesses could be misdiagnosed over the telephone as Swine Flu. Well of course misdiagnosis of Swine Flu is happening! The hotline isn't being run entirely by medical professionals so wouldn't that be obvious?? Oh but just to make this really scary the news stories on this went on to tell the horrible personal stories of patients who almost died due to a Swine Flu misdiagnosis. So now not only do we have a pandemic on our hands but we've also got a hotline that misdiagnosis what cold be more serious and life threatening health issues as Swine Flu. BE AFRAID! BE VERY AFRAID!

Yes, Swine Flu is here and yes people are dying but as I said before most of these people had pre-existing serious health problems. Thus, if you're the average healthy person you don't need to tremble in fear of the Piggy Flu. Just do your best to remain healthy- there's probably no need for you to don a face mask, but do wash your hands a bit more. If you do get Swine Flu you'll probably just have cold like symptoms with a fever, which although annoying, won't kill you. If you've got a serious health condition or are the parent or caretaker of someone who has a health condition or is very young or old, then by all means do take all extra precautions to remain healthy and keep in contact with your GP. However, we need to cease getting caught up in the media frenzy over Swine Flu and allow it to distract us from what's really going on in the world.

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