:::By now, most people are well aware of the fact that swine flu is still making its way across the country and picking up speed in the Southeast where schools have been in session since early August.
Just last week in TN alone, a 5 year old died in Nashville (sick on Friday, died on Monday - that's quick folks), a 5 year old died in Chattanooga and a 13 year old has died in Memphis. Pediatrics are being hard-hit by this virus, so we must be vigilant in our preparedness actions.
Most of what is causing deaths is not the swine flu itself, but a viral pneumonia that hits some people along with the swine flu. Some also are getting a bacterial pneumonia that is very antibiotic resistant. And some perfectly healthy people are experiencing what is known as a cytokine storm - their immune system goes to work too well and overwhelms their lungs fighting off the virus - in essence they drown. Research so far is showing that in many of those who have died due to "swine flu", their lungs look remarkably like those who died from Bird Flu (H5N1). There are avian components to this flu, in addition to swine and human.
Overall, the death rate from this particular strain of H1N1 is very low. In reality, there is little you can do other than the usual good hygiene to try to avoid getting this virus. However, you just never know when you are going to touch a door handle, shopping cart, ATM touch pad, bank ink pen, gas pump handle or something else that has the flu virus on it:::
Something I noticed back north was a lot...just about every person middle-age and older...using the hand sanitizer station at the grocery stores, WalMart and Home Depot, and using the sanitizer wipes on their shopping carts as they got one.
We have those same things set up around here. WalMart put theirs in back in July. Thing is, and grant you I'm only there maybe once during my in-town run if that, I've never seen a single person use them. Ever.
If something as simple as wiping down the shopping cart has the possibility of keeping you one step ahead of the flu *of any variety* why not take advantage of it? How many of those same 'lazy cart wipers' if you will are practicing the same level of lax hygeine at home, at work or at school?
Do you remember being in high school and the health class always did a class or two on Mono, how to avoid it, etc? Yeah, I know...the mono talk comes in early grade school now along with a lot of other 'talks' -- but I digress...
The main goal of their talk wasn't so much about mono or stopping anything, but they drilled the point home that whoever you kiss, you are kissing everyone they have kissed...and everyone each of them have kissed...and so on.
Think about that shopping cart and everyone who has used it since the store opened. I've never seen a cart cleaner working? Think about some of the gas pumps, the ATM machines...those dollar bills and coins even.
We just live in a rather dirty world. Maybe it was never a problem before. Maybe since we certainly aren't a society of home-bodies, we have armed ourselves with bacteria and what-not and have a slightly higher chance of avoiding some illnesses. We definitely don't live like the boy in the plastic bubble in this country.
The other side of that is we don't pass around your grandmother's flu these days. We pass along some wicked, been-around-the-world nasty virus/bacterial goodies now. Nothing is simply 'a cold' or 'the flu' anymore. It's resistant to everything, it's kick-your-butt-and-come-back-again-while-you're-weak stuff these days.
Just use practical common sense, folks. If you're destined for illness this year -- or any time -- just use the brains The Lord built-in and arm yourself with information and some level of preparedness at home. If you get a mild version of anything, count that a great blessing. But please consider others -- use some common sense and don't play the marytyr showing how sick you are but can still function in the workplace, church, or school.