I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that you have heard about this so-called swine flu pandemic that is sweeping across the world. As of April 28 laboratory tests have confirmed 114 cases in seven countries, including:

  • 19 cases in Canada.
  • 91 cases in the U.S. with one reported death.
  • 26 cases in Mexico with seven reported deaths.
  • Two cases in Israel.
  • Four cases in Spain.
  • Two cases in the United Kingdom.
  • Two cases in New Zealand.

There are new cases cropping up every day. But really how alarmed should we be? At this point its really hard to say. Human to human transmission outside of Mexico is starting to occur, and already has in BC. Today, walking home from work I saw two separate people wearing facemasks. I was going to write a ‘Bitch, Please!’ article about how stupid people look wearing masks when they are walking around on the streets on a warm sunny day because they are scared about catching something that about .00001% of the city actually has (it seriously grates me), but then I thought that maybe these people are actually less stupid and more scared about what they’ve been hearing about this virus. 

I think its really important to keep things into perspective. The influenza virus normally kills tens of thousands of people every year, but don’t expect the media to volunteer that information easily. All that we see is SWINE FLU ALERT! PIG FLU PANDEMIC KILLS ANOTHER! The same thing happened with SARS back in 2003. I went travelling to Toronto (ground zero of SARS in North America) during that time and almost cancelled my trip because of what I saw on TV, All they showed were people on the streets and in the subways wearing masks, travel advisories, and flight cancellations. Despite the ‘risks’ we decided to go anyway and had a great time, and you wouldn’t believe the deals we got! SARS specials everywhere! Yes, I saw the occasional person in a mask, but most people were carrying on with their daily lives, aware of the virus, however took the proper precautions like avoiding hospital wards and keeping their hands clean by washing them many times a day. It’s all you can really do unless you want to move to Antarctica and live with the penguins; and believe me, you don’t.

So how do we keep sane during this latest viral outbreak? (Hey Redd,  going forward, I think it’s safe to say that the swine flu has gone viral!) Basically the virus is transmitted just like the flu virus; if you are on the bus or buying lunch, wash your hands before you touch your nose or eyes. The BC Centre for Disease Control has maintained that washing your hands thoroughly and often is the best way to keep from contracting viruses like the swine flu. 

So, until this latest viral outbreak becomes insane and begins to threaten the existence of humanity as we know it: Just relax, be smart, and please, NO MORE FACEMASKS!