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October 15th, 2009:

H1N1 colonies – why not?

So I hear that an old busybody in Victoria got her knickers in a twist about being on the same bus as someone who dared to cough in this H1N1-sensitive world. The old busybody makes a fuss about it to the driver and the driver politely (1) asks the coughing lady to leave the bus. The sick one was quite rational about this – I’m not so sure I would have been.

“I get the concern,” said Jenn Chapman, 41, a human resources worker. “There needs to be some precaution, there needs to be some education. But there needs to be way less hype.”

Chapman said on Thursday she was riding a bus and coughing into her sleeve, as directed by public health officials — even though her doctor has assured her she doesn’t have H1N1 swine flu.

An elderly woman sitting some distance away told Chapman she shouldn’t be riding public transit with a cough. The woman then approached the driver and demanded he take action.

The driver, although clearly uncomfortable, asked Chapman if she was close enough to her destination to leave the bus. Since she was only two stops away, she got off to keep the peace.

“What are you going to do? I was brought up to respect my elders,” said Chapman. “She wasn’t rational at that point.” (my note – I respect my elders no more than I respect anyone else – they have to earn it.. it is not something that is automatically endowed upon them! OK. That’s my rant about seniors…)

Clearly an intelligent person, that Ms. Chapman. She realised that she was fighting a losing battle against an irrational bitty.

Which brings me to my point: all of this hype is completely over the top.

In the past two weeks, I have counted 11 people wearing face masks on the bus or at a station. When someone coughs, at least 2 or 3 heads to turn to see if the guilty party was anywhere in close proximity.

It-is-the-FLU, people! So you say: “but this is a different strain of the flu” More deadly than others!”

Not true… this is from a Health Canada site:

Q2. I understand Canada has experienced deaths related to the H1N1 virus. Does this mean the virus has grown in strength?

There is no evidence to suggest that the virus has become stronger.

It is important to realize that different strains of influenza result in about 2,000 to 8,000 Canadian deaths a year. We must take all influenza – not just the current strain – seriously, and take measures to protect ourselves.

So. Use some common sense and stay home when you are sick. Like I am doing today, for example. I’m pretty sure that all I have is a bad cold with my usual bronchial issues… but I don’t want to spread it to my co-workers and they certainly don’t want to hear me coughing and sniffing!

But I don’t have Ebola, Bubonic Plague, Cholera,TB or even Cat Scratch Fever! I’m pretty sure of that!

But we do not need to isolate ourselves or be isolated by others if we have some symptoms that may be similar to those with the flu – any flu! If that is encouraged, then we might as well go the full Monty and set up little communities of Swine flu infected folks. We could call them colonies. Pigger colonies. Flu flats.

Hmm… wasn’t there another disease where those infected where left to themselves on the outskirts of town…

Anyhow – chill folks. This happens every year.


1. The driver actually was quite nice about this. Wow. Take note, OC Transpo operators!!