Wednesday, April 29, 2009

This swine fever business

It's a bit like the British troops in Singapore pointing their guns in a southerly direction and the Japanese troops attacked from their north, via Johore, on their push-bikes.

I was talking about the bird flu a lot and now we hear the pandemic is of swine flu.

My husband is permanently on immuno-suppressant and you can understand some of the anxiety in our household. He also goes to work on the Tube every day. He is very vulnerable.

The authorities have been promoting the use of tissue paper, something about binning it after we've blown our nose. My instinctive feel (rightly or wrongly) is used tissue paper left in open bins are just as great a health risk.

Of course I have vested interests. I want people to buy my lovely organic cotton hankies (now with embroidery!!). The thing is if one is not mindful of one's hygiene, paper tissues and hankies are equally bad.

At least, one's cloth hankies are usually isolated in one's pockets.

I remember my first impression of walking into hospitals was the smell.

The smell of disinfectant every where. Where they used to take me to the dental clinic (because I had such bad teeth), there was the smell of disinfectant every where, too.

My aunt, who was a matron at the maternity hospital, she knew about cleanliness. She was the kind of person who would run fingers under beds and ledges on doors, etc, to check for dust. Hospitals were safe and clean with people like her about.

When I had my baby at the local hospital (incidentally 'baby' will be nine tomorrow), I was shocked and depressed to find dusty corners every where. I remember going to the shower room once. I left something there and I did not wish to return there to retrieve it.

I remember, too, my dad in hospital, dying from lung cancer (he was a chain smoker). If he needed to spit, he had to spit into a covered receptable half-filled with disinfectant. None of this tissue paper business.

When I was setting up my hankie business I read of the case of a woman who was visiting at hospital, dropped her hankie on the hospital floor, and who continued to use the hankie. She died or got very ill from an infection picked up by her hankie.

No, I wouldn't use a hankie I've dropped on the floor any where, much less one on a hospital floor.

Just heard on the radio some advice on masks. We used to make face masks with our hankies, or blindfolds, etc. If hankies were too small we tied rubber bands to them and hooked them round our ears, yes.

Swine flu is bad business for every one, but I cannot say that either paper tissue or cloth hankie is better. We do need to be sensible and take precaution where possible.

Meanwhile after my son declared that he did not wish to have a dead father, we decided that it's divine protection we need.

PS: Much has been said elsewhere about large-scale bird-farming and the flu. Here's a story about a pig farm (?).

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