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Friday, July 24, 2009

Plague Island

It would appear that the perception of other countries is that the UK is an island in the grip of a pandemic of Plague proportions.

A friend in Hungary was told by a doctor that if his family came to the UK, they would be dead within half an hour.

We hear how badly some British school chidren were treated in France, hounded out of their hotel in swimming costumes, forced to wear masks.

And today on the news we discover that the new NHS Helpline has been swamped by calls and more staff are being recruited to deal with the volume.

We need a bit of perspective. Swine flu has killed 31 people so far. Most if not all of them had an underlying condition. Influenza kills around 60,000 a year, every year, in the UK. Flu is bad news for the elderly, pregnant women and people with "underlying conditions" (asthma for example). But for the vast majority of us, it's going to be an unpleasant inconvenience for a few days. Surely no need for most of us to panic or to phone any helplines. Stay in bed and drink fluids!

I'm also going to scream if I hear anyone else say "I think I may have swine flu." You know when you've got the flu. You don't struggle bravely to work and persevere. You are physically exhausted and have to drag yourself to bed. Most of the time it's a bad cold.

Perspective folks, perspective.

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