With the approach of cold weather, more businesses are posting signs about personal hygiene in the face of Swine Flu. You may have become accustomed to seeing signs telling you how to wash your hands and the proper way to sneeze. But if you don't appreciate being treated like a five-year old, this post is for Y O U. The sign at right is a perfect example of the useless propaganda that's spreading (like a virus, haha!) as flu season approaches. Schoolchildren washing their hands every hour, facemasks in public, classes being canceled and offices closing down; you can now mock each and every one of these events with the proper information.
1. Hand washing does NOT stop spread of the swine flu. You are much more likely to get it from someone sneezing; the virus actually becomes inactive once it hits your skin! (source)
2. Swine Flu is NOT deadly, the regular flu is actually SIXTY TIMES more likely to kill you. Being afraid of Swine Flu today is like climbing into an active volcano and worrying you'll die from a lightning strike. (source)
3. You probably ALREADY breathed in Swine Flu, and didn't even know it. Swine Flu has been in the United States since last spring, and has managed to spread around to most states since then. You can track weekly reports of flu prevalence at the CDC Website here.
4. If you are still scared, there are now vaccines available for the Swine Flu. However, the vaccines may actually be MORE dangerous than Swine Flu itself. The US already had a Swine Flu Panic in 1976, and while an unfortunate single soldier died from that flu outbreak, many times more people died after receiving the vaccine and contracting Guillain-Barré syndrome. Guillain-Barré syndrome is a paralyzing neuromuscular disorder, a rare side-effect of modern influenza vaccines. It only affects 1/1,000,000 vaccine receivers, but compared to the single US casualty of the Swine Flu in 1976, the vaccine killed more people than the disease itself.
So, what can you do in the face of Swine Flu? I'd recommend something like the green bio-mask at right. Sure, it's ridiculous to think that putting plants on your face will protect you from getting the flu. But at least you'll get noticed, and it's no more ridiculous than any of the other public responses to Swine Flu.