Of course, masks can give you some protections from swine flu, but generally it's a little bit much for most people. In a situations, when someone is sneezing in your face, a mask might help. But it's hard to call it the most effective strategy for preventing swine flu, because you we catch bacterias and viruses in many different ways, like touching the doorknob previously used by the sick person. We must also rememeber that most of the masks are effective only for about half an hour after putting them on.
Nevertheless, the pharmacies run out of masks very quickly. But if you think that typical white mask is lame and it doesn't show your original personality, you can buy something more sophisticated or unleash your painting skills, like it's presented below:
SWINE FLU PARTIES
In many countries, like United States, when a child gets chicken pox, her or she is not cut away from friends, but throws a special party, where they can get it too. This 'tradition' comes from the fact, that it's better to get this sickness at young age, because later in life it has a far worse course.
When swine flu emerged in spring, the idea of 'chicken pox parties' quickly transformed into 'swine flu parties'. Specialists informing us, that in the autumn the virus will be more dangerous, led some people to idea that it's better to catch it earlier in order to get the immunity for the later part of the year.
Health authorities are against the idea of swine flu parties mainly, because there are a lot of things we still do not know about the virus and the disease and how unpredictable it can be.
One of the unfortunate social side effects of this type of public fear mongering, amongst vulnerable and sensitive children, is the ensuing cyber-bullying by text, phone and (in the above instance) through the online social networking site, like Facebook, of those who are known to have the influenza A/H1N1 infection. Effectively, the latter are being treated in much the same way as were lepers in the past.
In one UK school, an infected year 12 year old pupil, as we can read in the 'London Evening Standard', received various nasty texts from both anonymous and known fellow pupils. One of these said threateningly 'You are going to die!'
The report quotes the child’s father as saying 'a lot of people are over-reacting, it's a sort of ignorance …there are some aggressive parents saying none of us should be allowed out. But we are not a threat, we are not displaying symptoms'.
We see, that the cycle of fear perpetuated further, with the inevitable consequence of yet more frightened children, some of whom may react by bullying and shunning those infected or thought to be at risk of infection.
But swine flu can push students' positive creativity too and even make them to compose a song.
'ODE TO TAMIFLU'
Side effects of talked over and over in the media medicine called Tamiflu and the mild symptoms of the swine flu got even a comment from a 13 year-old UK boy. Whilst confined to his home as a result of the closure of Alleyn’s school, though uninfected himself, Harry Houseago composed a song and uploaded it onto the YouTube. It has already been viewed many thousands of times and is spreading (sic!) quickly.
It appears, that Harry, having read the patient information leaflet provided in his packet of Tamiflu capsules, was more concerned about the possible side effects of the drug than he was about the flu itself. From a young person's perspective, scary side effects or a bad taste in the mouth are usually a quite big deal. Even without medical and ideological buzz, it's a quite entertaing song, so here's the video:
iPhone is popular not only for the intuitive operational system and magic Apple logo on the back. It also offers us a countless list of applications, which we can get from the iTunes Store. The IntuApps company holds it's hand on the pulse, as the Swine Flu Tracker got released. It offers many helpful functions, like:
Threat Level Page - a web page, that takes info from the WHO's threat level page.
- Mapping Swine Flu - cases through a Google Maps RSS feed
Clickable Map details - by clicking on a pin, you can read more details
Swine Flu Facts
Swine Flu Alerts - pulled from WHO, CDC and HealthMap Twitter accounts
Here are some screens:
THE COMPUTER A/H1N1 VIRUS
Government Accountability Office (GAO), which works for the Congress of the United States, prepared a special report about the influence of swine flu upon the frequency of using the Internet. It demonstrated, that in case of protection from infection many people decide not to go to work or to school and do their duties via net instead. GAO alerts, that soon in servers may be overloaded in the morning, as thousands of workers and students will try to log in.
International analytical company Gartner also sees that problem and advises the companies to use the cell phones or satellite net instead, which reaches the computers directly and avoids the data 'traffic jams'. Many organizations pay loads of money for WOC (WAN Optimization Controller) Technology, which allows to reduce the amount of sent data up to 90%.
Japan's National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) said on its website, that a suspicious Japanese-language email message with an attached file called "information on swine flu" has been circulating in cyberspace. 'The institute has received reports that the email message falsely identifying itself as coming from the NIID is circulating' it said.
'The email is carrying a file titled
THE FINAL WORD
As we can see, swine flu epidemic takes not only medical consequences, but social too. What do you think about them? Are these actions rational or maybe they show how the panic can be quickly spread and enlarged to the shocking sizes by the mass media?