Friday, May 8, 2009
Swine Flu à la Française
As of yesterday, five cases of flu caused by the H1N1 virus had been confirmed in France. The French government, like others worldwide, has begun an aggressive public education campaign in newspapers, on the radio and on TV to give people practical information about how they can stop the spread of the virus and what to do if they experience symptoms. Some may find this over the top considering the small number of detected cases. But as a former (and I expect future) public health professional, I think it's a good idea to remind people not to panic, and instead to wash their hands, use tissues when they cough and sneeze (and throw them out), and to seek attention if they become sick. Hand washing alone is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from any type of cold or flu virus, and ever since my first kid was born, the first thing I do when I walk in the house is to wash my hands. I'm hopeful that the current epidemic will be contained and also hopeful that the public will stay attentive to the advice and counsel of health authorities. Let's not panic, people.