Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you’ve heard the swine flu alerts. Every day there’s been a new article, a new email (usually from my concerned mother) , a new tweet about the swine flu. I’m starting to think that maybe missing that spring break trip to Cancun wasn’t so disastrous after all. With 159 reported deaths so far, what’s most important is that the outbreak is receiving the serious attention it deserves. This doesn’t mean that everyone needs to avoid Mexican food and run to their nearest GP, however, as cases have begun cropping up everywhere from California to Spain, it does mean that it’s important to be aware and informed about current travel precautions. Though it seems like something new crops up every year, a mad-cow epidemic here, a tomato or peanut butter recall there, avian flu, and now swine flu, even the most adventurous traveller should exercise caution. (And, hey, if excitement is what you’re looking for, why not try something like river rafting instead?)
For those returning from a visit to one of the affected (or suspected) areas, the Health Protection Agency and the British Airport Authority are advising passengers “to monitor their health closely for seven days. If during this period you develop a feverish illness accompanied by one or more of a cough, sore throat, headache or muscle aches, you should stay at home and contact your GP by phone or seek advice from NHS Direct (0845 4647)”. And for now, as my mom’s most recent email says, “the best thing you can do is wash your hands frequently”.
For news updates, I’ve been checking out the Times. And, for a little humour in the midst of it all, the Times Online has a great article of “prevention and cure dat[ing] from before the days of the Advertising Standards Authority”.
My favourite tip of the bunch: “Don’t worry about influenza, Drink Ovaltine”.
Don’t we all wish it could be that simple?