Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Mike Statement Gives In to the Hype


Campbell's Chicken Noodle SoupPlusDayQuilPlusSprite


The student paper at Laurier is known as The Cord. I love student papers, and not only because I've written for them. I love them because they are (usually) a wonderful hodgepodge of local, national and international news, College-related material - both funny and serious - and College/University student rage at ideas and concepts.

But, of course, like every media outlet, their pages are infected1 with articles and columns devoted to that nasty strain of Influenza A H1N1 - "Swine Flu". There is a column in the Life section (granted, not usually a place to find hard-hitting journalism) detailing the author's battle with flu - either swine or seasonal, she did not get a confirmation.

There were only two points in the article that bugged me, as I shall outline here:
Finally, a doctor was able to see me. After examining my condition, she confirmed that I had the flu. She said that I had the characteristics of swine flu, but that they do not test individually for H1N1, as they assume everyone with the flu has the swine flu.


I didn’t really understand the logic behind this, and was even more annoyed when they told me to go home with no prescription.

A common misconception is that "H1N1" is specific only to the swine flu which is untrue; H1N1 is the most common strain of flu to infect humans, swine flu is just a variation of it. But the fact that she was annoyed by not having received a prescription perplexed me - did she want prescription orange juice? Antibiotics do not fight viruses, they fight bacteria - which was actually described in a feature a mere six pages before the article.

Then, there was this:
Having to return to the hospital a second time a few days later, the doctor gave me the appropriate antibiotics.

Wait..."appropriate antibiotics"? For your viral infection? Did these pills have a sugary or minty flavour? Did they come in a clear bottle with a green sticker and pop top? Thank God we pay little for our prescriptions in Canada!

Look, a lot of people are going to get sick. 99.8% of them are going to get better. It'll suck.2 It'll suck even more when more people die, but a lot fewer people are going to die than from seasonal influenza. Then we'll get over it, and sales of Purell will plummet until the next outbreak of something common sense should take care of.

1 - Har
2 - Although, snuffy nose and sore throat are apparently uncommon symptoms, so it sounds better than a cold to me!

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