Friday, May 1, 2009

Caution or Hysteria

Yesterday, one of my coworker received a call from his wife asking if she should pull their little girl from preschool because of concerns over the Swine Flu. They live in Delaware near where four U 0f D students have been confirmed to have Swine Flu. They decided to keep her in school for now, but we talked a little about it after he got of the phone. We couldn't come up with any good way to decide.

The topic came up again when I picked Michael up yesterday. My mom asked me if she should take Michael to his gym class today. I felt it was OK. I knew it was going to be rainy today, and I hate to think that my mom would be cooped up with him all day.

My comfort level changed this morning while I was watching the news. There is a suspected case of Swine Flu in my county. I don't really know what that means on a practical level, but on an emotional level, it's a bit scary. It's one thing when people are getting sick in another state, but when they may be circulating in my neighborhood, that's a whole different matter.

Andy and I discussed it a little, than my mom and I did as well. I figured it's probably safe enough at this point, so I left it up to my mom if she wanted to take him to class or not. By the time I did my morning check-in call, I wasn't feeling as positive about it. Fortunately, my mom must have been feeling the same way about it, because she told me she wasn't going to take him.

Missing on class isn't a big deal. But we will need to make this decision again and again until the flu season eventually end. Is it safe to let Michael go to a friend's birthday party on Sunday? That's more important than the gym class he missed. We need sandals and summer clothes for Michael. Is it safe to go to the outlets to shop? What about his classes next week, and the week after that? How long is it fair to keep him cooped up?

It really comes down to a risk benefit analysis, but I don't feel I have the information I need to make smart decisions in this situation. Obviously, the right level of caution is somewhere between stockpiling food and not leaving the house for a month and running around the playground licking all of the equipment. I just don't know what the appropriate precautions are to take.

I guess for now we'll just have to keep an eye on the news and make our decisions based on what we know at the time. Hopefully I can find the right balance.

8 comments:

Karla said...

The whole Swine Flu thing is VERY scary! We have 3 "suspected cases" here in NH now. With our school vacation coming to a close and school starting back up next week its a bit scary to think of where people may have been on vacation and what germs may be spreading.....

Deanna said...

We have it here in Tarrant county...all of Fort Worth ISD is closed until May 8. We keep taking the little one to daycare. The one thing I can say about it is that the cases that we've had in the US have been mild with very few complications. I plan on getting any of us to the doctor as soon as we see symptons. And I read the details behind the one death in the US so far...did you know that the child came down with the flu on April 8, wasn't given tylenol until the 15th, and wasn't taken to the hospital until the 23rd. So, you hear things and then you finally read what really happened...would the child have had a hard had they been in a doctor's office the first few days of the flu? I have to believe that at this point, if it is caught, it's treatable and doable. I also have a few weeks worth of food around the house, so if we go on lockdown we're good.

LauraC said...

I hear you on this one. I have much less hysteria bc I hear about illnesses that go through the boys' room at school, where they spend the majority of their time. They've actually had kids vomit in class and my boys didn't get it. This started early... one of their day care buddies got RSV when the boys were 4 months old and had to be hospitalized. N&A never got it.

Once it comes to my actual school, then I'll worry. In the meantime, we always have motrin and tylenol, BRAT diet, pedialyte, and enough food for a week bc of the whole hurricane thing and being bitten before with no food and two vomiting babies.

Maria said...

The whole thing was really freaking me out until I talked to my Mom who pointed out that this is the FLU. It is a new strain, and therefore we have no vaccine for it, but if we all take the same precautions we do during the regular flu season, we should be fine. I think the name has something to do with the hysteria, too...This seems to be much less severe than the regular seasonal flu, so if we all keep our hands purelled and stay away from anyone who is hacking, we should be ok. I do hear you on the freaking out, though. I tend to do that from time to time.

Kaycee said...

Ugh it's driving me insane worrying about it. I pulled up in Wal mart parking lot, parked, then backed out and went home because I didn't want to take the girls in. lol.. you just never know?!

DesiDVM said...

I've been trying to allay my DH's fears about this. I've had to become very educated on swine flu because with a name like "swine flu" alot of people have been calling me because vets should be well-versed on it. I keep reminding my hubby (and everyone else) that this is a flu like any other, and actually it hasn't shown itself to be all that virulent yet. The reality is, last year in the U.S. alone over 26,000 people died from the "regular" strains of influenza. So we should all be taking precautions during flu season anyway.

Of course when a friend of mine RSVP'd to J's birthday party this weekend and then casually told me she and her hubby just got back from a Cabo vacation, I did pause a little bit and then "jokingly" told her I'd have a mask for her at the door.

Amber said...

I too was terrified about this flu, and there has been a suspected case in our county but in Ca in general there has been a handful. I am in Biology class right now and my teacher is a scentist who deals with this sort of stuff she said in her opinion this will not become a "big" deal. Well to help me ease my mind this is what I though ok there are about what 350 cases worldwide 109 here? Well if there were 109 people running around our states carrying 10,000 bucks I would get if they coughed around me what would I believe my chances were??? Ya about zilch!!! So somehow when its a negative thing my odds become s much more brighter, but I just though realistically and the odds are not very good. Hope that helps a bit plenty of sanitizer and just be aware of your surroundings should do you just fine.

Julie said...

I too am more worried about regular influenza than this particular bug, since every year so many people, especially the respiratory susceptible, die from it. But this whole swine flu business is WAY overblown in my opinion. I think its something significant that viruses are jumping from species to species, but this particular bug doesn't seem to be as scary as the news wants us all to believe.