H1N1 – it’s getting bigger than Ben Hur

Matt is coming down to stay with us this weekend, and he is taking Ross, Lachy and Dan to the Telstra Dome to watch Brisbane v Carlton [AMENDED actually it is North Melbourne as Carlton are playing tonight, Friday]. His little town is making headlines as 19 people are being tested for the H1N1 flu strain. As much as I love him, if he has been in contact with them, then he needs to stay where he is. There has been a lot of brouhaha about people travelling around the country when they are supposed to be in quarantine, and one cruise ship is still intending to visit Port Douglas and other stops on its cruise, despite 3 crew members testing positive on the ship.

While ABC radio is usually pretty good at not fanning flames, they are asking why the WHO aren’t raising the level up to Pandemic level 6. People are flooding to the doctors with coughs, colds and demanding to be tested, I haven’t seen anyone wearing a mask yet, but the panic over the flu is surprising.

People die every year from normal strains of flu. Every year, weakened people like the elderly, the very young and people who already have health problems and weak immune systems die from the flu. We don’t have this much of a panic every year.

We also don’t have this much of a panic with people scurrying to their doctors because they have had unprotected sex and are worried about STDs and AIDS. It is funny what people’s priorities are, ‘AIDS won’t happen to me no matter what (or who) I do’ but if anyone sneezes near me – whoa panic.

I think people need to get their priorities right. The media needs to stop scare-mongering and criticising Health Care Professionals who are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. NSW were told off for interrupting people’s holidays on one cruise ship earlier this week, now they are being told off for not clamping down enough!

People also need to take responsibility for their actions, the government here are now running adverts telling people to wash your hands, and wash them properly. Soap and water and washing them (without the tap running) for 20 seconds is more effective than using the little anti-bacterial bottles. Cover your mouth when you sneeze and cough and throw your tissues away instead of leaving them lying all over the place.

I didn’t realise educated people in the Western World were so blase about basic hygiene, common sense and needed telling to wash your hands! Grim.

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