Friday, May 1, 2009

Got Flu?

The answer to that question, of course, is: probably not. This time of year, all that coughing and sneezing you or the person next to you is doing is just as likely to be a bad allergy attack. Yet many people I know and respect, including a few good friends and the Vice President himself, are getting a little panicky about this Swine Flu thingy. You'd think people like Joe Biden would be old enough to remember the last big SWINE FLU EPIDEMIC!!!! in 1976. My school closed down and they were vaccinating people like crazy. But that one turned out to be nothing like the Great Flu Pandemic of 1918, which truly was like something out of a Stephen King novel. In fact, one statistic I read about the 1976 Swine Flu stated that more people died from bad reactions to the quickly developed vaccine than died from the illness itself. Guess that might explain why our government isn't rushing to inoculate folks this time around. Take a look at this very dated PSA from that year:

Here's a dose of reality for all of us to bear in mind:

Number of deaths from heart disease in the US last year - 652,091
Number of deaths last year in the US from all cancers - 559,312
That includes the 40,000 cases of breast cancer that proved fatal. By the way, even women are now more likely to die from lung cancer than breast cancer.
Number of Deaths from Stroke - 143,579
Number of deaths from respiratory diseases (asthma, COPD, etc) - 130,933
Number of deaths due to accidents and unintentional injuries - 117,809
Like car crashes and falling off of ladders

Number of Confirmed Cases of Swine Flu worldwide right now - 331
Number of Confirmed Deaths from Swine Flu worldwide right now - 12

So here's what we all need to do:

1) Stop panicking

2) Wash your hands and take some vitamin C

3) Go do a breast self-exam, for crying out loud. Or schedule an EKG.

4) Don't drive so fast. And put down that cell phone. Yes, I'm talking to you.

5) Oh, and maybe have a buddy spot your hubby on that ladder next time he cleans out the gutters.

Now everyone, stop hiding in your house and go out and enjoy the Spring!!!


  1. Well said, Lynn! Couldn't agree with you more, actually. I so remember those PSA's from '76---not always the good old days, were they?

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Ellen. I had mostly forgotten the '76 epidemic, until a local DJ aired one of the PSAs included in this YouTube clip. I do remember it was a very, very nasty flu - I just about passed out in the middle of class and a nun had to take me to the nurse's office. They wound up sending me home and about two days later, the whole school closed down. I've long thought of myself as the Typhoid Mary (or Swine Flu Mary) of St. Dominic's Elementary School!

  3. Gracious, Lynn! You are honest to goodness the very first person I've met who actually had it. I knew it was nasty for those who suffered, but mostly I remember a family that was pretty much devastated by the vaccine.

  4. Lynn,

    I'd forgotten about the swine flu epidemic of 1976 until I read your blog. The video is too funny, although at the time, it wasn't. Like Ellen, you are the first person I've known who had the swine flu. I agree, the powers that be are making an awfully big deal of this. Great blog.

  5. I'd also forgotten about the 1976 epidemic, but remembered the term Swine Flu. And may I add drink booze free to your list of suggestions?

    Happy weekend in the springtime!

    Nancy Haddock