Having a moderate amount of medical training I am not one to minimize preventative measures for avoiding illness, injury or even chronic halitosis (bad breath). I do, however, take a realistic and common sense approach to the issue of medical illness and disease... it happens.
I'm not smiling at the more-mild-than-expected numbers from the H1N1 flu because the moment I do someone else will come up and say, "there is still a second more virulent wave coming!" ... well, actually, that's already passed..."there's a third more deadly wave coming!" It's impossible to disprove a negative. The next wave of illness could easily be manipulated to completely debunk my analysis and I would be none-the-wiser. It's like saying, "We have done a good job making America safe from terrorist attack and we will NEVER be attacked again!" The minute you say that some other young man is being convinced to strap high explosives to his groin-al region.
On a quick aside... I would have a difficult, if not near impossible, time keeping a straight face while trying to explain to a young and fervent recruit what the "plan of attack" was going to be..."Here's what we're going to do! You take this bag of high explosives and slide it down next to you nuts. Then you take this here syringe of accelerant and inject it into the bag of high explosives around your nuts. THEN when you get to you seat... you take your blanket and cover your whole body in the blanket, to avoid suspicion and all, and then you light your nuts on fire in order to detonate the high explosives strapped to said nuts. OH! And if the explosive DON'T explode you can at least expect an intensely hot flame in and around the "twig and berries" area."
And the terrorists are bragging that they have 300 more crotch bombers ready to light their balls on fire! (Hey, I'm just reporting then news here, I don't make it up.)
Anyway... back to the flu...
What I AM stating is that the numbers have not even come CLOSE to the type numbers we have been hearing we would see from the beginning of the year. In fact, to date, only 12,000 people have died from this flu. Certainly ONE death is too many when you have such a tragic illness take a life, but in the overall number of deaths per flu season, that would be considered a good year. Typically, between 30,000 to 40,000 die each year in the US just from catching the "regular" seasonal flu.
Has sneezing into our elbows and bathing in hand sanitizer saved us from mucous covered devastation? I know my dry cleaning bill has certainly been devastated due to the "detritus left behinds" from the many good moist sneezes that have been delivered into the sleeve of my suit jacket.
I must admit it's a bit awkward to have the mucous stained elbow pit area in a long meeting. Judging by some of the glances, it's as if I had "liquid evil" boiling up on my sleeve. Who came up with the "elbow pit sneeze/ cough maneuver"?? Why can't I just wash my hands after I sneeze? HEY! You try feeling good about delivering a goobery sneeze to your expensive suit jacket sleeve! It's just nasty!
Sneezing into your sleeve leaves you with the awkward "wiping up" procedure with a tissue or napkin. You try to knock off the big chunks but you just end up smearing the wet stuff deeper into the silk fabric. Hand sanitizer makes its appearance as you attempt to de-snot your hand after the clumsy cleaning stage.
And what about those days you decide to go short sleeved? I see your wrinkled up faces out there! You know what I'm talking about! You end up having to use your hand to wipe the "stuff" off your arm anyway!
No one likes to see their kids sick. All six of my kids caught a nasty flu this year. I'm not sure if it was the H1N1 flu because I didn't take them to the Dr's office to try to catch the flu if they didn't already have it. Instead, I monitored their fevers every hour and kept them on a regular cycle of alternating Ibuprofen and tylenol along with LOTS of fluids. And you know what? They all made it through! Not ONE of them had to be taken to the Dr's office.
I'm a DAD, after all! It's my job to watch over and protect my children. And I DID! I changed their bed sheets and blankets every morning and I kept a chart on their beds showing their temperature and medications that were given and when. That's what Dads and Moms are SUPPOSED to do! I don't expect that the corpulent nursing caregivers could have done a better job than me when it comes to taking care of my kids.
Would the healthcare system be "log jammed" if every parent decided to be a parent and care for their child properly?
H1N1 is a deadly disease... no doubt! But so is Strep, Staph, Dysentery, Dengue; and even normal Flu is deadly. Gingivitis can be deadly for heaven's sake!
But hysteria is not helpful and it can lead to an overload in patients seeking medical services and that would deny care to those who do become fatally stricken with the illness. Has anyone tried to find out how many of those deaths occurred because they patient had to wait to be seen?
Some may say that we needed to react as "big" as we did. But did we? How much of our scarce resources did we use up? Hell, H1N1 has just become the new "snow day" for the average worker and school kid.