Posts Tagged ‘Swine flu’


Posted: August 14, 2009 in H1N1 virus
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Please click on the title or click here to read the Hindustan Times headline in the Mumbai edition today.

In a nutshell, here’s what it says: It is time to stop the panic: SWINE FLU is going to be around and we’ll have to learn to live with it, say public health experts. Nearly half of the 161 people who tested positive for the H1N1 virus in Mumbai did not even need hospitalisation. Just 27 remained in hospital.

I see some good sense has finally dawned.
Now only if the prophets of doom in the broadcast media listened…

Flu again…

Posted: August 13, 2009 in Pune

A couple of my friends called me up after reading my post to say that things were bad in Pune and maybe I was understating the threat. I never said it wasn’t bad, I only said that the media shouldn’t be treating this like the plague of 1666. Thirteen dead at last count, but it’s still not as virulent as the media was making it out to be.

When even the medical fraternity is telling us that things are not as bad they are being made out to be and trying to calm the panic-stricken populace, the electronic media was putting the fear of flu into them and making it into some kind of Rambo Circus. I am sure that nowhere in the do the world broadcast media behave as irresponsibly as they do in India.

I agree we have to be careful, because it’s a virus about which not too much is known. Secondly, since the symptoms are very similar to influenza, it’s difficult to diagnose quickly enough. Heck, I am a diabetic, so I should worry the most, because I come in that high-risk group. If I feel unwell or display any of the symptoms, I’ll be the first one to go to the hospital.

I am glad that schools, colleges and malls have shut. I think the authorities have done the right thing. But why are malls and multiplexes closed only for three days? Will the flu go away after three days? I agree with the health minister who said self- restraint is the best policy. It is we who have to be careful.

But however, careful I am, what can I do about the people around me who have a casual attitude to everything. When their family members are suffering from flu or have related symptoms shouldn’t they be going for a check-up immediately? But what do I hear …. “Nothing serious, just dysentery…or just a cold….” If they don’t care about their health and that of their near and dear ones, they should at least think about others – strangers, colleagues and friends. But it’s this chalta hai attitude that really gets to me.

I guess that’s a sickness which is worse than swine flu. Can we have medication for that, please?

….and swine flew

Posted: August 12, 2009 in Pune, virus
Tags: , ,

The media, both print and broadcast, has, as usual, gone overboard in the coverage of H1N1. That’s not surprising at all, since by now we are used to the Rajdeep Sardesais and the Arnab Goswamis frothing from the mouth, even if some kid called Prince falls into a hole. I am sorry, I don’t watch NDTV, so can’t comment on the high priestess of television news and her global view of the virus.

For heaven’s sake, this is not the plague (better known as the Black Death) of 1666 that killed 100,000 people in the UK. If you were to listen to the TV channels and read the newspapers, it would seem like people were dropping around us like flies. Ok, so let’s take precautions and be careful, but do we need to get hysterical about it? The world has not stopped moving. The rest of the world too is suffering from the same flu, but have you heard any of them going haywire the way we are?

The people of Pune too are still going to work; we are still exercising in the jogging parks; and we are still going shopping and meeting friends at parties. So we wear masks, because it’s a psychological feeling of being protected! I mean, at least we feel that if the guy next to us sneezes we don’t have to take to our heels like we are being chased by a poltergeist! I agree that children, diabetics and heart patients etc are most susceptible, so the schools and colleges are closed. We need to take a few precautions. But I don’t think we have to behave like we’ve being invaded by some unseen force that is going to maim us all.

The problem with Indians is that we love melodrama in reel and real life. And the TV channels know that too. That’s why you had some dumb anchor speaking to a couple of children who had recovered from the flu, like they had just been through a plane crash from 30,000 feet and come out unscathed! Now THAT would have been news. The woman should have taken a lesson from the kids, who seemed completely oblivious and quite unaffected by the hysteria being drummed up by the media.

Yesterday, the coach of the Malaysian badminton team sneezed in Bangalore and even before the tests proved anything our medical experts at CNN-IBN, Times and the others had already confirmed that the poor man probably had swine flu. So far nothing has been heard about the coach and his flu from official sources.

Another thing, if the city’s health authorities give even a damn about the health of its people they should stop the selling of face masks on traffic intersections. I might not get swine flu but I’ll definitely end up suffering from dust allergy if I was to wear one of those. In the long term, I don’t know which is more dangerous for my health. These masks are being sold by beggars for ten bucks and shockingly, I see people actually buying them. So much for being health conscious!

In all this hysteria, I think the health minister’s reaction has been measured. He has rightly refused to sell the drug Tamiflu over the counter, because he believes very soon it will be selling on the black market at ten times the price. Some Indians will resort to anything to make a quick buck, even let someone to die.

But I think there is another reason which the minister didn’t mention (or did he?) – Indians, by and large, are a nation of pill poppers and hypochondriacs. Indians love medication of any sort, whether it’s a Coldarin for a flu (for which doctors worldwide have yet to devise a cure!) or Viagra for things that I cannot mention here!