Stop the Swine Flu Travel Madness!

by brian on May 4, 2009

I didn’t say much about swine flu last week, because I think I was just sick (no pun intended) of the coverage of it.

It’s not all that serious and I’ll tell you why.

At the end of the day, after all the commentary is over, it’s a variation of the FLU. The flu.

The flu that EVERY year spreads around the world.

The flu that you’ve probably gotten at least once in the last 5 years.

The flu that yes, does kill a tiny fraction of the world population. Mostly the very young, the very old, and anyone with a weak immune system.

The flu that you prevent yourself from catching by doing what you should be doing anyway: washing hands frequently, staying clear off coughing and sneezing persons, etc.

This is not bubonic plague where catching it was an almost certain death sentence. You got sick, you felt horrible, tired, achy, you stayed home for a few days, and you got on with your life.

Let me ask you something: If the media reported this as the H1N1 flu as opposed to SWINE flu, would we have gotten all in a tizzy? Did the word SWINE get people anxious? Was it that the supposed first case came from Mexico?

Swine flu is not new. In fact there was an outbreak in the mid 70s. Here is the Youtube video of the public service announcements encouraging people to get the vaccine. I love the 70s!

It’s the FLU people. Get on your planes, trains and automobiles and go live your lives.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Bathabile May 4, 2009 at 11:16 AM

Wow! So this is nothing new (although I think this PSA is more informative and responsible than the information generally out there today).

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peter May 4, 2009 at 12:46 PM

I really like your blog, and love this post! It’s getting way too much press in Spain as well.

Also 1000 cases (or whatever) worldwide is not a pandemic

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IcexAngel May 4, 2009 at 1:47 PM

I thought I was the only person who felt this way. Thanks for this post. And if you don’t go to Mexico doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get it! I wish people were as alarmed about HIV/AIDS.

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brian May 4, 2009 at 2:57 PM

@Bathabile
The PSA is hilarious and creepy at the same time with the 1976 production values and horror music background. The best line of the PSA is at 15 seconds in!

@Peter
Thanks for reading and the compliment!
The words pandemic – epidemic got passed around too many times the last few weeks. When a whole bunch of people get the flu we don’t get all crazy.

@AichaR
You speak the truth. Thanks!

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Jeremy Jones May 4, 2009 at 7:42 PM

Hope this flu thing passes over soon. I can understand not wanting to travel to Mexico City, but thats about it. I’ve had pork almost every day since they announced it, just for spite.

It seems to be calming down a lot though.

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Travelogged May 5, 2009 at 12:27 AM

I agree… It has been way overblown. There are horrible germs everywhere — I think the swine flu just has a catchy name.

Ironically, I watched that PSA yesterday on TV when I was flying Jet Blue…

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Trisha May 5, 2009 at 12:57 PM

Amen Brian – I’m appalled at the way the news media has sensationalized this in their pathetic attempts to gain readers/audience/attention.

You’re right that this particular flu strain is no different, or worse, than any other flu that kills roughly 30,000 people in the US every year. And the Mexico tourism industry has suffered devastating losses over what is both unfair and inaccurate reporting.

It’s time to find a new story to focus on and get over this ridiculous obsession with a flu.

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brian May 5, 2009 at 4:31 PM

@LivingTheDream
The little pigs are not the problem. But people will twist the facts to serve whatever ends they have.

@Travelogged
Why was JetBlue showing the PSA? Was it part of a newscast?

@Trisha
Amen to that. Unless something major happens I’m not going to bring this up again.

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Melissa May 8, 2009 at 10:15 AM

That PSA was awesome, Dotty is a ruthless killer!

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Dave and Deb May 12, 2009 at 6:52 PM

I agree completely. I am tired of the media blowing things out of proportion. They want to promote panic. Thousands of people die from the flu every year. I was in Asia during the Bird flu and never had a problem, heck, I survive flu season in Canada every year without fail:)
Cheers. Deb

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brian May 13, 2009 at 6:21 PM

@Melissa
Yeah Dottie is more infamous than Jack the Ripper!

@Dave and Deb
I’m still trying to figure out how/why it got to be so blown up. I understand it is a new strain of flu, but the flu mutates every year. That is nothing new.

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Ryan January 27, 2010 at 2:33 PM

In my opinion media frenzy is causing the swine flu scare. The gravity of the illness appears not much different than a seasonal flu; the majority of fatalities were caused by pre-existing conditions and not by the flu.

The best way to prevent the spread of germs is to use good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often.

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mothers day gifts February 27, 2010 at 3:06 AM

If only cleanliness is applied from start and no end, this illness will never be known or will stop creating havoc.

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