Thursday, April 30, 2009

Let's Nip This Swine In The Bud!

Unless you've been living on Mars (and if you are, thanks for reading my blog!), by now you've heard about the potential pandemic swine flu that has already rapidly spread through parts of Mexico and is heading north into the United States. In fact, hundreds of cases attributed to this deadly virus have begun popping up in several states. The intent of this post is not to stoke the fires of fear that the WHO (World Health Organization) has caused in us by raising the pandemic alert level from 4 to 5. The WHO should be doing everything they can to call attention to this influenza...and so should you!

But don't just watch this outbreak on the news and be scared, do something about it. Now is the time for everyone to pitch in and beat back this swine by doing something as simple as washing your hands. Or covering your mouth after sneezing or coughing. Or staying home rather than going into work when you are sick and contagious.

A few months ago, I wrote a post called, "Beat Those Winter Blues." In it, I talked about ways to prevent suffering those lows that cold weather, lack of sun, and the onset of the flu season challenge us with during that time of year. Here is an excerpt on how to avoid spreading germs that will help nip this swine flu in the bud before it spreads further:

PASS THE KLEENEX AND WASH YOUR HANDS!

Sneezing, coughing, phlegm-laden human beings that you come into contact with are everywhere this time of year, and often unavoidable. But you CAN protect yourself from catching whatever illness is ailing them by following a few precautions:

*Try to avoid shaking hands or having other contact if you know someone is sick.
*Wash your hands with HOT water and soap throughout the day. If you can’t, then carry a hand sanitizer with you and use that until you can wash properly.
*Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, hoping that others will do the same for you.
*Always use a Kleenex, and toss it when done. Don’t use hankies, they hold germs.
*Wash your hands BEFORE and AFTER using a public restroom, then use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and one for the door handle.
*Try to avoid sharing telephones, keyboards, pens--anything where hand-to-hand contact is prevalent.
*ALWAYS disinfect hotel room TV remote controls!


This is one of those situations where personal accountability, each individual doing their part, is vital. We all need to rise to the challenge and do the little things. Besides always practicing all of the above germ-prevention tips year round, I also produced this video:

HOW TO...PREVENT SPREADING SWINE FLU



A few closing thoughts about a possible worldwide influenza pandemic. The last major pandemic was the Hong Kong Flu in 1968. Over one million people died during that outbreak, a number that pales when compared with the 1918 Spanish flu. That outbreak had estimates between 30 and 40 million deaths, a mortality rate of 2-2.5% (WHO/History of Influenza Pandemics). Multiply that percentage by six billion and you have your worst case scenario. But we've come a long way since 1918. And we've made amazing strides in combating influenza since even 1968. Experts say that we have never been better prepared to fight a potential pandemic as we are today. A good thing.

I gave you the worse case scenario, now the best case. This may all be the WHO overreacting to a very serious flu with the potential to cause a lot worse damage than it will. In other words, all this preparation and trepidation may all be for naught. Or is it? A wise man once said:

"It is better to error on the side of caution than to get the swine flu because you forgot to wash your hands."

Just to be on the safe side, I am taking this threat very seriously and doing all that I can to make myself and my family as germ-free as possible. You should too. Hopefully, the worse thing that comes from all this is some wrinkled hands from excessive washing. Because I don't want to even consider anything worse than that.

Until next time...

peace,

Mike

19 comments:

Jackie said...

Thanks Mike.

The horrific way we treat animals in the factory farming system we can expect more and more of this kind of outbreak.

Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

At work we got little Purell pals for our desks so it is more convenient to wash our hands. In the brochure that came with it, it said the average work desk harbors over 10,000,000 germs!--Dr. Charless P. Gerba, University of Arizona Microbiologist. Wow, guess I'll be using Purell from now on.

Butler and Bagman said...

Enjoyed watching your video and imagined you walking with your camera held so steadily in your right hand pointing at yourself! Nice touch! I'm working on the concept of living in a tree and locking the doors -- I once tried to install a doorframe in a reasonably rectangular house and putting one in a tree sounds tough. But washing my hands more, I can do! Humor aside, thanks for the serious warning. I work in healthcare and this is a big deal. Thanks.

And those of us on Mars are busy translating your blog as I speak. But we are a bit short on water for washing here.

suZen said...

Grocery stores around this area have always had the sanitary wipes right by the carts - I've always used them and see more people doing that now too. You're right, we cannot be too careful. You might want to read Dr. Mercola's 10 page article on this - some fascinating info at Mercola.com Meantime, thanks for all the tips!

PaulsHealthBlog.com said...

A little common sense, like washing your hands, goes a long way to prevent something like the swine flu.

A strong immune system is a significant deterrent as well. So lay off of that sugar, which can weaken your immune system by roughly 92 percent!

Paul

Eat Well. Live Well.
PurpleGreenPops.com

Martin in Bulgaria said...

Hi Mike,
Germ warfare is on and you have helped.
Takes care

kRiZ cPEc said...

take good care!

Mike Foster said...

jackie: you have a good point there...

karen: only ten million?

butler and bagman: the question really is: if you live in a tree, do you need a screen door? Thanks for the great comment...

suzen: thanks, will check out those tips, and keep that hand sanitizer handy...

paul: great point that I am ashamed to say I omitted from this entry--the healthier we are BEFORE we catch a flu or any illness, the better chance we have of recovering...thanks, Paul...

martin: yes, it is a war, one that i hope we win with few casualties...

kriz: you too, my friend...

happy weekend and...

peace,

mike

Evelyn Lim said...

Yes, simple prevention tips can be very helpful. It is all about having a strong immune system. It is also our responsibility to keep ourselves healthy!

your "Health Assistant" said...

truly Mr. mike prevention is better than cure, so everybody don't forget to wash your hand ok

Butler and Bagman said...

Mike, Nothing about this blog -- but yes, I have heard of Leominster -- been through there a time or two but don't remember too much about it. Years ago.

Mama Zen said...

Excellent preventions tips!

It's also a good idea to wipe down phones and doorknobs with sanitizing wipes!

Mike Foster said...

evelyn: agreed, the best defense is a good offense

health assistant: take care of yourself too

butler and bagman: i haven't been back in years, thanks for dropping by

mama zen: you should see me inside a hotel room with the hand sanitizer


happy weekend!

peace,

mike

G.Kannan said...

The threat is really frightening in the context of the figures quoted by you during the last two pandemic swine flu decades back. Simple precautions suggested by you go a long way to protect us from this deadly disease. Thanks for the tips and your concern for all about this.

Barry said...

Some excellent advice there Mike. With a little thoughtful care we can prevent a great deal of grief.

Beating the flu is in all our hands, literally.

Keep them clean.

Mike Foster said...

g.kannan: i wash my hands like a crazy person all the time anyway, but especially during flu season...

barry: literally, it is...and i have a feeling that this will not be the outbreak the who is predicting...


peace,

mike

reallylife said...

hope not going to Indonesia the swine flu

Sudeep said...

This is gr8 blog , would love to be connected to you blog and be in touch with you .
Regards
Sudeep

Chiang Mai said...

People with regular exposure to pigs are at increased risk of swine flu. More than 1100 people worldwide have died from swine flu since it emerged in Mexico and the US in April, according to the latest figures from the World.