So top of the news today is the whole Swine Flu epidemic. My wife is not taking it as seriously as I think she should be.
From a personal standpoint I think people are NOT overreacting to this. They _should_ be this paranoid about a pandemic.
Because it _will_ happen eventually.
Here’s the first thing - we’re making ourselves weaker as a species. The more we isolate ourselves from the natural environment, the more we use all these hospital-grade antibacterial cleaning methods, the more we worry about our children “catching something”, the weaker we become. (I’m not going to go into the over-immunization issue - that’s another rant for another time.)
I’m not against keeping clean or anything like that but geeze! The amount of constraints on the average US child or the amount of obsession that the average US adult has about cleaning is akin to trying to get everyone to live in a hospital!
We don’t need to be _that_ _clean_ with our lives. Doing so only creates a weaker immune system for all of us down the road as well as creating “resistant” diseases.
Lighten up on the hand sanitizer please!
The second thing - we’re moving people around the globe at an ever increasing rate.
This particular point sticks in my mind because of a set of Sci-Fi novels by David Weber called “Empire from the Ashes” in which a vast galactic empire was laid low because of teleportation and a slow-incubating disease with a swift and brutal active period. (Sorry if that’s a spoiler but the books have been out for years - go read them. Well worth paying the author for.)
Now we’re nowhere near having teleportation but if a disease having an incubation rate of say 3 weeks and an active period of 1 before killing the host then you can easily see where this could be a problem.
I’m not in any way medical nor a student of disease and even I can see there is a potential problem with this.
Imagine something like this infecting people at say a theme park that is internationally known or any other high-traffic tourist location. These people wouldn’t even know they were infected until they’d gone home and by then it would be too late.
This is not a good thing but there are some solutions.
1) Stay home when sick. Employers need to go back to having true sick days that do not punish the employee for being ill. (Even for us evil smokers.)
2) Eat locally grown food and locally butchered meats. There is less likelihood of a food bourn illness communicated to a large population if the food comes from somewhere close to them. (On top of it all you often get better food and sometimes it’s cheaper too.)
3) Stop thinking that you and your children must be “sanitized” and your environment “sterilized”. I’m not saying don’t clean just don’t be obsessive about it. The little “colds” you may or may not get as a result will only strengthen your body.
4) Stay as healthy as possible without resorting to chemicals or drugs. I’m NOT saying stop taking your medication and I’m NOT saying drugs are never needed. What I AM saying is that a lot of drugs are over-prescribed. Eat right, lose weight, exercise, and maybe some vitamins and that will help take care of a lot of what ails you in my opinion.
Personally I’m trying to do al four of those things. Sometimes I fail but most of the time I succeed. And if a lazy and aging computer geek can do it then so can you. ;-)