A nurse and the H1N1 flu panic


Image: Celeste Romero Cano/Flickr/Getty Images

Yep. This swine flu/ pig flu/ H1N1 flu / (insert scary name) is really starting to gnaw at my nerves. Fact vs. Fiction can really cause quite a stir in the public. There is a reason why there is such a public ‘concern’ about this new virus. We caused it.

Yes, you read that right.

WE as in the public. As in society. As in all of us. We caused this. We failed at properly educating the public. Educating those on the who/what/when/where/why’s of this new virus.

Yes, we (I use this term loosely) are making strides to better inform everyone NOW – after the fact. We are NOW trying to calm everyone down by delivering the proper message. Making a valiant attempt at extinguishing the ‘fire’ we created.

For months the un-informed and very concerned public only saw the ‘extreme’. They only saw and read about the ‘deaths’, the horrible effects, the myriad of pictures with people and their ‘masks’, the ‘swine flu’ parties, etc. The un-informed became panic-driven, terrified and down-right scared.

No one told them what the heck the virus actually was. No one discussed the ‘survival-rates’. No one shared.

Scare-tactics I tell you.

Pandemic? Yes, a new flu pandemic indeed? Pan-demic … Pan-ic…? Hmm?

Instead of properly educating, preparing, and ‘arming’ society – we decided to scare the living daylights out of everyone. Scared them silly I tell you. Scared them into thinking that if they didn’t get the vaccine they would die from the flu. Scared them into thinking there was no other precaution you could take besides the vaccine and wearing a mask everywhere you went. Scared them into fearing for their lives and the lives of their loved ones every time they heard a cough, or a sniffle.

I’m not going to waste your time or mine. I thought about sharing all kinds of juicy information regarding the H1N1 virus, the vaccine, and all the do’s and don’ts – but instead I’m going to share the down and dirty version. OK, my version of this wonderful new pandemic.

  • H1N1 is a flu virus, just like any other flu virus – the only difference is it’s a NEW one. A new one means we haven’t yet wrangled it down. We still have unknowns. So there are things that may crop up that we didn’t know about. Like it’s veracity within certain populations – namely the older population, women who are pregnant, infants and children, etc.
  • The SINGLE BEST defense to combating this flu – AND all other types of flu: WASH YOUR HANDS. And I’m not talking about those wonderful hand sanitizers. I’m talking about soap and water. The old fashioned way. You’d be surprised where and how you acquire the ‘germs’ of the flu.
  • The vaccine? Get or not? It’s a personal choice. Will it help? Sure? Will it ‘make’ you sick? It’s very possible. But guess what – so do all the other seasonal flu vaccines?? The only difference is this vaccine has some unknowns, since it’s so new. Ask your physician. Take your personal history with other flu vaccines into account. Make an informed decision based on medical facts- not the jargon you read on the internet, or the chatter you hear amongst your social circles.
  • If you get the H1N1 – you can get really sick. But you can also survive. Most do. In fact only a few that have gotten it have dire consequences. It’s the ‘high-risk’ populations that need to be concerned.

(Like I said.. down-and-dirty version)

Stay informed. Get the medical facts. The best defense to this ‘scare’ is being properly armed with the correct information.

Best of luck with your decision.

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7 Responses to A nurse and the H1N1 flu panic

  1. Pingback: A Nurse and the H1N1 Flu Panic | My Strong Medicine

  2. megan

    Good article!! I too am guilty b/c I was so under educated about H1n1. After I got things straight…I got my vaccine and my children are getting it this week!

  3. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ Megan Awesome! Good for you!

  4. Heidi

    Evidence has shown that alcohol based hand sanitizers used properly (just like soap and water, there is a right way and a wrong way) are JUST AS EFFECTIVE as soap and water on hands that are not visibly soiled. They can actually improve compliance rates with hand hygiene by making it faster, easier, and more portable. You can have alcohol hand sanitizer at every bedside and outside every patient room, where sinks are impossible.

    Please fact-check. Evidence based practice is such an important part of nursing, and accuracy is SO important to journalism. It pains me to see misinformation!

  5. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ Heidi Thank you for your thoughts and information. Evidence based practice does state using these hand sanitizers is not 100% effective in comparison with hand washing. While they are just as effective, the success rate with soap and water exceeds even the most effective hand sanitizers.
    I greatly appreciate your feedback and thank you for leaving a comment!

  6. Yvonne

    Hi – thanks for the info. Funny, I came to the opposite conclusion from another poster’s. I decided to *not* get the H1N1 virus for myself or toddler. We’re not high-risk, are extremely healthy, with good sanitation habits. Past flu viruses didn’t seem to protect anymore than not getting them.

  7. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ Yvonne Thanks for the info! Lately I’ve been thinking it has everything to do with your immunity and nothing else. IMHO. Thanks again!