Friday, May 15, 2009

Swine Flu - From Panic to Forgotten

Well, the panic seems to be over for now. But now, is swine flu forgotten? That isn't much better. There will be other pandemics, and some of the things that could be learned from this one could be useful in the next one.

First, you need to prepare for a pandemic before it gets much news attention. Maybe before the first case. Do the simple stuff, have some extra soap and other supplies on hand. Get in the habit of washing your hands any time you come into your house from any public place.

As for society, we need to develop clear guidelines. This time around we closed schools where there was no outbreak, and every state and county had a different standard for what would be released about cases in their area. I would recommend that schools close after the first confirmed case, or after 1% of the school comes down with suspected cases. Of course, there will be people who think the action is too slow, but we have to be practical.

As for information dissemination, I would say that we should publish any county where a case has been found, and the school district if they attend a school. Maybe we need some standard for telling how many cases are confirmed or suspected, but I am not sure what that standard should be.

And we need to develop clear guidelines about the emergency issuing, safeguarding, and tracking of medicines. Especially antibiotics and antivirals.

Despite the lack of attention it is getting since everybody got interested in Nancy Pelosi's denial of knowing about our interragation techniques, let's not completely forget about this pandemic, especially since it IS still going on.

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