Sunday, July 12, 2009

Swine flu in the office

Swine flu seems to have created two tribes. First there is probably a majority of people outwardly blahsay about the whole business, pointing out that normal flu is just as bad if not worse and we should all keep things in perspective. Second there is another group who are actually quite alarmed, refer to history that viruses can mutate and get worse and think we are not out of the woods yesterday.

If anything I am slightly embarrassed to say I sit in the second group. Not that I feel in mortal danger this minute but I remember cases of normal flu that were quite bad enough for my liking. The last time I got the flu was just after Christmas 2007. We visited Bluewater shopping centre on Boxing Day so perhaps I deserved some divine punishment. I remember my legs starting to ache while waiting with my son in his pram outside Boots. After that it was downhill pretty quickly and I was sent into quarantine in the spare room only emerging to visit the bathroom while covering my nose and mouth in an old sock soaked in tee tree oil. Such precautions worked as despite being in the same house my wife and son (then 6 months old) never caught that flu.

I hadn't felt so ill in a long while and remember time passing both very fast and then very slow. I moved from sweats to cold and couldn't keep any food down for a couple of days. Almost delerious, I watched David Dimbleby driving about in a Landrover talking about the history of Britain and multiple episodes of "Who do you think you are ?" including Bill Oddie and Ian Hislop (almost delerious is probably one of the few reasonable excuses for watching such programmes !!!) Anyway I survived and the recovery once it came was quite fast. Nonetheless I remember that normal flu can be a nasty business and I do not dismiss Swine Flu.

Britain is now number 3 in the swine flu charts (behind the US and Mexico) and London is a hot spot within Britain. Therefore I am really in the wrong place. My office now has its first cases of swine flu, although there also seem to be a growing number of "suspected" or "possible" swine flu cases. The real picture is a bit unclear but with a week of sick leave more or less guaranteed I can see some room for abuse.

The alcohol gel dispensers going up around the place are the only real outward sign of something happening.

Meanwhile many Londoners have to travel in packed public transport full of sneezing and coughing fellow passengers. When you sit on a packed train in London you realise that London is really a rather unhealthy place. I cannot imagine that many people permenantly have coughs and colds in the Alps or by the ocean. In packed cities with not enough fresh air we stuggle to avoid the next bug whatever it may be.

This year it is swine flu and the makers of "hand sanitizers" must be making a fortune.....


Rositta said...

Two of my immediate neighbours have had the swine flu but both recovered. There have been 41 deaths in Canada and it seems to hit people under 45 more severely. I have a bottle of sanitizer in the car and use it every time I come out of a store. We are traveling to Greece again in September and I already worry. Not so much that I'll get sick but that if I do I'll end up in some abysmal hospital there. I do have that wonder drug Tamiflu which I'll take with me. Greece is under reporting which is pretty typical...ciao

Luis said...

Hits younger people over here too apparently. Britain's toll is now 29. It seems to know no boundaries as today it even reached the lofty heights of Tony Blair's wife !

Thankfully most people recover so I guess we just stick with hand sanitizer and hope for the best.