Remember What Your Mom Taught You About the Flu and You'll Be Fine

| April 27, 2009 | 6 Replies

Randall Munroe gets on the Swine Flu/Twitter humor train early and decisively. I posted the comic after the jump. It’s funny, trust me (and there’s another webcomic joke in there that you may or may not get).

More seriously, let’s get real, folks. Swine Flu is not a screaming hot deal here in the United States despite the blood-red Drudge headlines and the news broadcasts this weekend and this morning. It could well become a big deal, if we all start acting like our brains dropped out of our heads at the same time. Remember that some 36,000 people die every year from influenza, so you can die if you’re dumb, in bad health already, or very unlucky. But tens of millions get the flu every year, too, so your chance of death isn’t all that great. Luckily for us, our Moms gave us some very good advice when we were kids that we can use right now.

  1. Wash your hands. Remember when your Mom told you to wash your hands before meals and after you used the potty? Well, guess what? She told you that because she was a heck of a lot smarter than you. Also, it helps if you don’t lick an infected person’s face or give them a long tongue kiss and avoid large groups of infected people (also a handy tip for zombie invasions). But, above all wash your hands. Use soap and water. Spend at least 30 seconds at it. Sing Happy Birthday if it helps.
  2. Remember your manners. When you cough, cough into a tissue (which you then promptly throw away! Do not stick it back into your pocket or purse for re-use.) or into the crook of your arm. Do not, under any circumstances, cough into your hand unless you immediately slather it in hand-sanitizer or thrust it into an open flame. Or you can, you know, just wash your hands with soap and hot water like the rest of us do right away. Your choice.
  3. Rest and liquids. Who could forget those sick days when you stayed tucked in your bed, ate hot chicken soup, and drank cool flat Ginger Ale (for sore throats) and orange juice? You Mom was no dummy. She knew that your body needed rest, liquids, and nourishment to fight the flu and recover once it was victorious. Was she right? Will it help? Yeah, she was and yeah, it does. It’ll also give you some peace of mind, especailly if you have a loved one make the soup for you. If you start feeling really ill or are running a high fever, get to your doctor’s office pronto. Don’t malinger and get sicker. We don’t see how they found your dessicated body month later, half eaten by your cat.

    Above all, remember that feeling punk is God’s way of telling you that you need to stay home from work. Take sick leave. Call your boss and work something out if you don’t have the leave. I can not stress this enough. If you are sick, stay home!

  4. Clean your room workspace!. Okay, you didn’t have a workplace when you were a kid but you had a bedroom, right? And you hated when you had to clean it. But one of the reasons your Mom made you do it because a clean bedroom is one that’s less hospitable for nasty flu bugs. Your workspace isn’t any different. Remember to wipe down your telephone handset, your computer keyboard and your mouse, especially if you’re not the only one who uses them during the day. All you really need to use is a litle bit of rubbing alcohol spritzed from a spray bottle. Vinegar will work, too, but it smells like vinegar which might get you some strange looks.

    That rubbing alcohol works as an impromptu hand-sanitizer, too. Just spray a bit into your hand, rub your hands together, and you’re done. Don’t like the smell? Keep some hand-lotion around, too. No worries.

Keep in mind here that I’m not a doctor nor a member of the CDC (their advice is similar, though). I’m a blogger. But you don’t need to a doctor to tell yuo what you already know. Your own behavior is largely what determines if you get sick or not. Limit your exposure to the bug and it’ll be tougher for you to catch the bug. If you do catch it, take care of yourself and don’t spread it around. Common sense stuff.

Really, it comes down to this: don’t panic, remember what your Mom told you, and you’ll be fine. Unless the flu is some sort of genetically-engineered super flu, in which case, all you can do is hope you surivive it. If you do, head for Boulder and not Las Vegas. Trust me.


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