Hey, have you heard of this thing called the “swine flu”? No?

I am having a strange time with all the coverage of H1N1. On the one hand, I feel like there is a teensy bit of panic and fear mongering going on. The reality is that 300 people die of the flu, the regular old flu, in Alberta every year. Currently there are six cases in Calgary, which is a city of over a million people. So perhaps a little perspective is needed.

On the other hand, I am a person who glares warily at people coughing and sneezing at the best of times, and relating to me that your child was up all night vomiting will inevitably lead to me surreptitiously sanitizing my hands at the first possible moment. “Germ-paranoid” is a term that comes to mind.

The thing about the H1N1, which I am using out of respect for pork producers, because although I am vegetarian, there are some serious pork fans in my house (“Pork chops! Yay!!!”), is that there is really nothing to be done in terms of prevention other than the regular old hand-washing and avoidance of people who are infected. Which is kind of common-sense, you know. And one of the great things about the internet and massive media coverage is that there is awareness – so people who are sick have a free pass to stay at home and recover, to keep away from the general public.

(Just writing that, I recall my former place of employment, which completely frowned upon people calling in sick. The guys I worked with would show up in all sorts of contagious stages, hacking and coughing and practically passing out at their desks. I myself once showed up to work with a massive kidney infection, typing away in agony, putting my exhausted head in my hands every hour or so, until I had finished my daily tasks and went home to ingest antibiotics.)

What precautions, if any, are you taking against this flu? Are you canceling vacations? Are you turning into an agoraphobic germ-phobe (like me, although I am fighting this urge in an attempt to seem normal)? Or, are you taking normal precautions against illness like hand-washing, but keeping your perspective?


  1. I’m in denial, trying not to think about it.

  2. I am washing my hands so much that they’re like flaring white blobs of excema. BUT AT LEAST I’M NOT GOING TO GET SICK!… Oh WAIT! I AM SICK! AAAGGGH!

    I tagged you!

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