Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Oink, oink baby.

Disclaimer: the following is purely my OPINION. Opinion, people. Just like everything else you read these days, come to think of it. Between my husband and I, we may have many years of biology experience (even including some immunology), but neither of us has any first hand experience with flu research

So, heard any swine flu news lately? I know, I know, it's so obscure and hard to find. I'm hearing a lot of grumbling about hype and of course the theories that it's man-made and has been released by "big pharm"--those who will profit from sales of anti-virals and vaccines.

Okay......hype? maybe. The main thing I hear is there are 36,000 deaths from seasonal flu every year and comparatively, there have been extremely few deaths from this strain of flu. True. For now. There's a big catch-22 here for public health officials though. If they do nothing and they're wrong, there will be hell to pay. The public will blame officials when there is a shortage of resources. If they do their job and do it well (limiting the spread of the virus), there will forever be deriders claiming it was all hype and public panic was induced for no good reason. Well, I'd err on the side of caution too and let the "hype" claims fall where they may. Until everyone is lined up for a hot off the presses vaccine, I'll refrain from yelling "hype".

Here's my personal view: The current recommendation is to wash hands, cough and sneeze into your sleeve, keep your hands off your face, and stay home if you're sick. All good advice anytime, regardless of what's going around. If someone in my family were to pop up with a fever and respiratory symptoms, I would head to the doctor sooner than I normally would (since there have been a fair number of deaths here, and it makes sense to me that most of those who died were probably not treated with anti-virals early on). I have no intention of hanging out at indoor playgrounds or other places where large number of kids gather any time soon (but then, we tend to avoid them anyway since most kids don't have great hygiene and gleefully share germs). I don't see any harm at all in following these measures. I must admit I did run through in my head how much food/medicine we have on hand should it become more serious and we chose to stay home, but we store extra food anyway, so I didn't feel the need to go "stock up". Should a vaccine be pushed in the near future, I would be hard pressed to take it unless the situation changes dramatically...mostly because I'm distrustful of new vaccines anyway, I like long-term data if I have a choice.

There are an awful lot of swine flu stories out there. I'm not reading any "we're all gonna die!" stuff though. Personally, I appreciate knowing where cases are popping up. Just like the CDC puts up weekly reports of where seasonal flu outbreaks are (which I periodically check as well), I think it's helpful to know when something like this becomes prevalent in my area, so I can make better informed choices about what sort of situations I put myself and my kids into.

1 comment:

Karen said...

I agree with your opinion

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...