Posted by: anglopole | July 16, 2009

Panic or flu pandemic?

According to official stastistics, seasonal flu kills around 250,000 people around the world every year. It does sound serious, doesn’t it? Yet, from what I remember everytime we call the NHS direct or go to our local health centre with flu like symptoms, we hear ‘oh, it’s just a flu! take some paracetamol, drink a lot, rest and all will be fine‘… Now, with this swine flu in the air there is a general panic and fear of this virus that is said to be just a form of the known seasonal illness. Everyday we are fed with scary reports about the growing numbers of those suffering from swine flu and those who’ve died from it. On one news channel you hear how unprepared NHS is for the spreading pandemic of the swine flu, and on others you’d hear there’s no better prepared health serivce in Europe…. When you enter health centres in England you are bound to bump into big notices asking patients who show flu like symptoms not to come to the clinic. Hmm…. it’s all very confusing, isn’t it? People die of this virus, as we are reminded every 15 mins, but it can be treated via a phone call, as this is the way we are expected to seek help… Yes, there’s a chance the paramedics will come over to you at some point but how will this point be determined? How high will your fever have to be for the NHS staff member talking with you on the phone to decide you are now ready to receive some practical medical help?! Do you have to cough 10 or 20 times per minute to start worrying about the flu you might have contracted? There are the so called higher risk groups who will receive the vaccination in the first place, once the jabs are actually ready. These are the elderly, the under fives, pregnant women, and people suffering from some underlying conditions. Now, what if someone doesn’t know they actually have some ‘underlying conditions‘?

The whole situation with the fast spreading swine flu virus is far from being clear. Is it that the flu is infecting means and ways of communication as well? 😉

edit.: there’s some development as I am listening to the latest news – a special helpline has been set up and a remote antiviral drugs prescribing will be done beginning with the next week. So, at last there’s some good news amidst all the anxiety about the pandemic.


  1. I was reading your post and every word can be applied to the situation we are living in Peru right now.
    I’ve heard doctors criticizing those daily increasing numbers, but they never let people know how many of those are already cured and fine.


  2. I have got a similar feeling, Gabriela. Nothing is being said about what methods should be used to treat the family members who’ve contracted the virus or if one has it themselves. The media do talk about a medication called ‘tamiflu’ but nothing is really explained how it works and how it would be delivered to you once you inform the specially set service that you’ve got the flu…. We hear that more people die of the virus but we are not told what actually kills them – is it a heart failure, respiratory system failure or what? I’m more worried about the scale of the confusion and lack of clear information….


  3. I’m just watching news and at least one case of a death related to swine flu seems to have been explained – a doctor from Bedfordshire, where I live, nomen omen, (I like the Latin expression – its meaning can be found here: , died of the virus as it caused acute pneumonia and heart failure. So, really, people do not die of swine flu per se but other ailments it may cause!


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