Friday, May 1, 2009

Okay, it doesn't mean you WILL die, it just means you COULD die...sheesh!

One of the school systems where I sub here in Civilization had a "swine flu" issue. Apparently a student on the shared middle and high school campus was out sick and is being tested for the Swine flu. Because of many things (the scare, the politics, needing to disinfect the school buildings, health precautions, pissed off parents, paranoia, the health department, the CDC, the WHO, et al) students were dismissed early and school was canceled for the next day, pending the results of the test performed on the student who might have it. This seems to be happening all over the USA, but mostly in Texas, New York, and California.

First, letting all things here at "shoes/ purses" be all about me, I was so pissed because I was scheduled to sub all day BOTH days, one of them being in my favourite classroom with my favourite group of kids- and because of the POSSIBILITY of the Swine Flu, I'm missing out on $$$$$$$!!! That sucks!!!!! Can I have a loan?

Second, letting it all be about humor here at "shoes/purse", I have to say this. I was working in the two buildings on the first day, and when the announcement was made about the early dismissal I was between buildings so I missed it. I walked into the middle school and was immediately accosted by what is starting to be my own "fan club" (the aforementions favourite group of kids)- a ragtag group of struggling kids who have a hard knocked life who think I'm cool and "make learning easy to ... ya know, like, learn" <-- that, my dear readers, is a direct quote from Kevin and Curtis. Okay, so, these kids- boys and girls- corner me in the hallway with hugs, high 5s, hip bumps, jive handshakes (GAWD, is the word "jive" even used any more?), air kisses, and requests to "pound it"- which means tapping closed fists. We go through this whole entire physical ritual when the kids then tell me they are going home because there's an outbreak of the pig disease at their school. I used this as a teachable moment and corrected the vernacular that is was "swine flu" not pig disease, and that we didn't have an outbreak, and explained what an outbreak was. And I was thrilled it was the day they decided to have a hands on approach to saying hello to me... GRE-at! Especially since they had all just been told to avoid having physical contact with each other!!!!!!!! Grrrr!!!!!

Another funny thing was just heard in the hallway. I was walking to a classroom and I hear a teacher from another room saying to his class: "Um, no, wait a minute, you guys. Swine flu is totally different than mad cow disease- calm down!" *I giggled* I just LURVE middle school age kids.

And instead of kids- high school AND middle school age kids, take note- running around hollering about cooties- they would touch each other, run away, and "Oink." Ah yes, public education in action, my friends.

Finally (thirdly for those of you who're countin'), letting all things be about education here at "shoes/purses" I have compiled a list of information about the Swine Flu and some useful links.

  • Swine Influenza aka swine flu, is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by influenza viruses. Usually people do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen- obviously.
  • Swine IS contagious and is spreading among people. It can be spread like any other flu viruses: through coughing or sneezing of people who have the flu. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose. And you CANNOT get the Swine Flu by eating pork products!
  • Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches the eyes, nose, or mouth. Drops from a cough or sneeze of an infected person are airborne so germs can be spread when a person touches the drops from another person on a surface like a desk and then touches their own face before washing their hands.
  • There are ways to avoid getting the Swine Flu- or at least, they could be considered safety precautions. Most importantly: wash your hands. Get lots of sleep, be active, manage stress in a healthy way, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. Try not touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Because the H1N1 Swine flu Virus is new to the US, it is treatable if detected in time, usually within 2-3 days of the presence of symptoms and is treated with medication known as Tamiflu, which is aplenty in the USA, as of now.
My information, which I consider pretty credible, was found at the CDC website, WebMD, and the World Health Organization. (As a good English teacher I should use APA or MLA format to cite the sources, but consider the links and site names the source this time, please!)

Now the WHO had confirmed that what we have is the potential for a pandemic- which is a world wide epidemic, rather than just a plain old epidemic (which is a spread of sickness in a general location to a large number of people), and is urging states to get their pandemic plans into action.

I'll let you all know if our student has it. Guess if that kid does, ya'll will know it because it'll be splashed all over the news since only 109 confirmed cases are in the US, and one death- we might be pretty well known 'round these parts for spreading the "pig disease." So, stay healthy!

In the words of Sergeant Phil Esterhaus of Hill Street Blues: "Be careful out there." Otherwise, 'nuff said.

And this is a public service message is brought to you by your bacon loving,
Dr. Maggie

(okay I'm not really a doctor, I just play one on the Internet)

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