Phew, at least it’s not the Wine Flu. I’d hate to give up Chenin Blanc.

Right now I feel like the only mom who hasn’t yet quarantined my children, invested in gas masks, and run around in a circle in public shouting SWINE FLU! SWINE FLU! AHHHHHH!

The last time I remember feeling this way was in 2001 when the Anthrax thing struck and New York was in a similar crazy panic. I sat over a bottle of wine with a friend, drunk and nervous and punchy, creating our own versions of Anthrax. Like Cranthrax, which would get rid of urinary tract infections; Imanthrax which would turn you into a size 0; Klanthrax which could only be found in Mississippi and CSpanthrax which was a great anecdote for insomnia.

It got us through the week.

I have to believe in my heart of hearts that the media fascination with this is far greater than the actual risk of death. Not to take away from the tragedy of the child in Texas who died after contracting swine flu, but only now it’s revealed that he had “underlying health problems.” Only now, after 24 hours of frantic tweets and emails and blog posts about plastic bubbles and installing Purell dispensers on your children’s foreheads.

The Daily News reports that their favorite journalism source, “officials,” are reporting that parents should prepare for massive school closings–even though in the very next sentence, Governor Patterson essentially said the opposite.

And while the World Health Organization director made the general statement “it really is all of humanity that is at threat under a pandemic,” Faux News (surprise) repeats it as “the World Health Organization ratcheted up its pandemic alert, WARNING THAT ALL OF HUMANITY IS THREATENED.”

Kind of different spin there, huh.

Susan Wagner
‘s husband got a notice from work asking them to avoid “courtesy kisses” (although as she points out, should there really be so much kissing in the workplace?) and I’m just waiting for some wackadoodle mom at my preschool with too much time on her hands to start demanding some kind of decontamination showers at every entry and exit point.

So why aren’t I panicked?

I guess I’m weird in that I get more worked up over the things that official sounding people deny can kill you (like oh, say BPA in bottles) than those that they’re claiming actually can.

Or maybe it’s just my authority issues: You tell me there’s a problem and I’ll challenge you to prove it. Tell me nothing to see here, move along, carry on…and I’m all over it. What are you hiding? Huh? Huh?

So thank you Karen Walrond for tweeting about the “Flu of the Aporkolypse” and thank you to The Onion for telling us what “Real Americans” think about the Swine Flu so I can laugh about this just a little bit.

And please tell me I’m not the only one who’s not body dipping my kids in alcohol every 60 seconds. Because I’d hate to think that I’m the only crappy mom on the block. Again.

{71 Comments}

71 thoughts on “Phew, at least it’s not the Wine Flu. I’d hate to give up Chenin Blanc.”

  1. No worries here; we have ONE confirmed case in my entire state. I didn’t care about West Nile or Avian Flu. I don’t care about H1N1 (swine flu) either.

    It’s business as usual for me and my fam.

  2. Oh yes, I wore Purell like my Sephora Coconut Body Cream today! I smell SO GOOD!

    In all seriousness, though? I am scared and worried. I’m thankful we live in today’s day and age where I’m sure a cure to this crazy flu will soon be found. But the fact that it is at a level 5, with 6 being the WORST, it’s scary to me. Luckily, my litte boys aren’t in school yet. Otherwise, I’d be keeping them home. Maybe. I worry A LOT over minor things like colds – (well, it doesn’t help that the last time my 3 year old had a cold he got pneumonia which required him to be hospitalized for 14 days with an IV and even ended up needing surgery to drain fluid from his lungs.. yeah, nightmare.) Yes, the media is probably not helping us stay calm, but when Joe Biden says he wouldn’t be flying in a confined airplane now, or taking the subway, it makes me worry!

  3. I am not stressing either, mainly because I blame 24 hour NEWS channels for all the hysteria. I mean there isn’t that much going, right?

    Although, my husband told me to “watch the kids”. What exactly does that mean? Like I don’t watch them otherwise. One might fall over and I won’t notice? He informed my daughter to wash her hands throughout the day and stay away from coughers. Not a bad policy in everyday practice, but I seriously doubt there is a big danger out there.

    I think instilling this kind of fear with surface facts is more dangerous.

    Also, I have to ask where does Susan’s husband work, because it sounds very friendly.

  4. Funny, the idea of schools closing doesn’t really bother me (we homeschool!). I’m waiting for the flood of people from my town to ask me what to do if schools close. Ha! I’m going to charge a fee for advice, like Lucy in Peanuts.

    Flus always worry me a tad since I have asthma, but I take enough drugs to keep me healthy, so I’m feeling pretty good that I’d be fine.

    One change? I do ask my kids to wash their hands every now and then. That’s more than before which used to be, um, never. Maybe that’s why they are so freakin’ healthy—they’ve already put every germ known to mankind in their mouth.

  5. Im not worried… there was a school in nova scotia that quarunteened 17 sudents with swine flu but they let the kids out into general population again after while 😉

  6. I’ve been wondering what is wrong with me, too. I did ask my daughter last night at dinner if she washes her hands before she eats, and she was all, “OF COURSE, MOM.” So then I told her to wash her hands before she touches her face, and she looked at me like I was crazy. Great parenting = done.

  7. I did get some extra wine in case there’s a rush and the liquor store runs out. Otherwise, I’m not too worried. I mean, if the schools closed, it would be super annoying, of course. But that’s where the wine will come in handy.

  8. My husband is an expert at making a mountain out of a molehill, so every time our son coughs, he is convinced that he got swine flu from daycare and that hospitalization is imminent. Well, our son has asthma, so he coughs A LOT. Life is fun in our house!

    I take the wait-and-see approach. Of course I’ll be concerned if it gets to Palm Beach County, Florida, but not until then. And I generally stay away from TV news since they’re great at hyping things up. God Bless NPR.

  9. thanks for the refreshing non-alarmist post.
    the media mass frenzy is making everyone freak out. over 35 000 people die from regular flu every year -in the u.s. alone- and there’s usually no mass hysteria about that. i am not worrying about this. if h1n1 starts mutating in strange ways i will perhaps start thinking about it in a more concerned way.

  10. It’s funny how they rarely mention that young babies and the elderly are the most susceptible to ANY kind of flu…always have been. If a slew of healthy 21 year olds start dropping, then you worry.

    This whole media spin brought to mind a stand up bit that Ricky Gervais did on HBO about AIDS…very loosely quoted “so I hear you can get AIDS from consuming meat from infected monkeys…yeah…that’s how I got it”. I wonder who’s been doing what in the pig sty!

  11. No body-dipping here. Although I have fun joking that my allergies are the “pig cold”.

    Just don’t kiss any swine and you’ll be good.

  12. Good for you.

    You know, Edie’s speech therapist asked me yesterday if I was at all concerned about the kids getting it and I was all breezy and non-chalant and like, “No way. Not worried in the slightest,” which is true. And he looked at me funny and like I was a terrible, neglectful parent and I thought, “Shit, maybe he’s gonna call child protective or something” and so, I decided that from here on out when govt people come to my house, I’m totally going to look all panicked and hysterical and concerned.

    Anyway, bird flu – which just killed a few little kids in Egypt and seems to be able to be transmitted through asymptomatic grown-ups -is way more deadly and worrisome and easy to transmit. Swine Flu is for amateurs.

    Kim

  13. i used to be not stressed at all, but roughly two hours ago my little one started having a temperature , (slowly creeping up to 39 currently) , my daughter has been asleep for 4 hours straight & my husband has a temperature,too. so, i worry,now. of course not really, more in the “it's funny timing,but of course this would never happen to my family” sort of way.i am trying hard not to worry too much because if i start to actually think about it, i I don't know.
    we homeschool anyway, but i would keep them home even if they were not sick yet.

  14. oh…and I forgot to mention. Last night a 90-year old family member called me and told me I should keep the girls away from “the Mexicans”.

    That just makes me want to go to Cabo.

  15. I’m using this as an opportunity to finally get my boys to stop biting their nails. Yuck.
    In the meantime, as I put the “risk” of swine flu in perspective, I worry more about kids not wearing bike helmets and kids who guzzle down soft drinks all day!

  16. I’m not worried. One woman made a comment on my local newspaper’s web site stating that area schools should close down early for the year. Apparently, she feels that missing an entire month of school is not a big deal because “the kids don’t do anything this time of year…definitely not the little ones.” I’m sorry, but if you think your kid doesn’t learn at least one new thing per month at school–move! Change districts, something!

    It’s been raining all week, too, which now makes me a stuck-at-home stay-at-home mom. Can we say cabin fever? Ah well, cabin fever surely beats swine flu. Now where is my wine….

  17. I’m not worried. There have been many confirmed and unconfirmed cases, but someone pointed out that thousands of people have died from the regular flu this year and we’re making a huge deal over the death of 1.

  18. Last night we were playing cards with the in-laws. Hubby coughed, and I made a crack about him keeping his swine flu to himself. His mother laughed — nervously.

    I thought she was going to Purell the playing cards right then and there.

    What cracks me up the most is the advice about this whole thing. “Stay home and rest if you’re sick! Wash your hands! Cover your coughs and sneezes!”

    I think my mother is running the CDC. Since when did everyday common sense have to be ‘taught’ to the public in the form of Emergency Anti-Pandemic Instruction Pamphlets?

    Pass me that wine, would you?

    – Julia at Midwest Moms

  19. You know, as a new mom I’m finding myself paying more attention to this outburst than I did with the bird flu, West Nile, etc., but I think it’s more that “nothing can happen to my child!” fear in me. I work in a hospital, so we get updates, yet I live in a state with no cases. So, am I panicked and changing my lifestyle? Not yet, but I am paying more attention than I would have before.

    I totally agree about blaming the media for the panic though, the way it’s on the news you’d think this was the black death with piles of bodies in the streets.

    That’s just me though!

  20. I’m so with you on this, and my family lives in Mexico City where my nephews have yet another two-week break from school (just had two weeks of Spring Break)due to the flu. After all the coverage on this flu, many in the city -including our 52 relatives there- are hard pressed to name or point to someone they know who’s contracted the pork-n-snot. I have a post about this at
    http://www.mamarazziknowsbest.com, Mi blog en espanol, for you
    Spanish readers. Muy interesante…!

  21. You’re not a crappy mom. I keep sending my son to preschool and I haven’t been washing him down with disinfectant when he comes home. Though I have been a little more insistent that he wash his hands thoroughly, use tissues instead of sleeves, and cough into his elbow. And if he gets a fever at all, I’ll be taking him in to the doctor just in case. But that’s the extent of my lifestyle change over this so far.

    I’m more concerned, honestly, about the public policy and economic hardship implications if we do genuinely need to take more drastic quarantine measures as a country than I am about the virus itself, because even regular flu kills people, and so far most cases in the U.S. have been mild. I worry that the government has not taken enough steps (as in, it hasn’t taken ANY yet) to protect parents from being fired from their jobs if they suddenly need to stay home with their kids because the schools have closed. I worry that many people who do get sick will not be able to go to the doctor because they do not have health insurance, and they will wind up overwhelming already-taxed ERs.

    To quell my anxieties, I am using any coughs or sniffles I have as an excuse to eat dessert first and read trashy books. Eat, drink, and be merry, right?

  22. I am so not stressing….my kids…still go to DAYCARE (gasp) I think the news is what creates the panic among the masses. We wash our hands, we wash the kids hands and we stay away from people coughing and sneezing and such. Life moves on in our neck of the woods. We’ve probably all already been exposed to it in one way or another anyway.

  23. Nope – no worries here. We did get a handy dandy health packet from school yesterday, basically stating that “if you child has ANY flu-like symptoms” to keep them home. I’m actually surprised the nurse hasn’t called in regards to my kindergartner because the end of last week, she was at the nurse a few times with a sore throat and coughing and runny nose (all listed on the “symptoms” page) as well as a low-grade fever (99.3). She’s still coughing, but has improved greatly since last week.

    My biggest concern is with my Husband. he goes back to work today after a long vacation and the guy he car pools with went to Mexico a week and a half ago. Needless to say, he’s not carpooling this week or next and is going to try to limit contact at work right now.

  24. I’m not worried, either. If we had tiny babies or an elderly relative or anyone with a compromised immune system in our household, then maybe I would be. But we’ve lived through all four of us having the flu at once (Thanksgiving 2004–the year of the flu vaccine shortage), and we survived. Come to think of it, that was when my son was only 3 months old. So now I’m really unconcerned.

  25. Did you get the “lipstick on a pig” photo from an old Sara Palin file?
    I’m in favor of hand washing. Always in favor of that. Otherwise, no real worries.
    My daughter’s orthodontist called yesterday to see if we wanted to take the option to reschedule because the Dr. had been in Mexico over school vacation. I figured the orthodontist, with her mask and gloves and general alcohol spray smell was one of the safest places we could go. It was surreal to get such a call.

  26. I’m not worried, either. If even half of these ‘pandemics’ amounted to something then it might be cause for concern, but so far none have. I have enough on my hands saving my kids from actual hazards like small choking hazards and traffic, I’m not going to waste my energy on swine flu.

  27. I’m considering following the precedent soon being set by the Egyptians: mass pig slaughter. Even though it has been scientifically proven that the illness passes person to person and not pig to person…Down with the swine! Oink.

  28. Crappy Mom here, signing in. Over and out. (shannon@livinginthegray.com)
    PS- My understanding is, of the original supposed 150 cases of swine flu, only ten were real.

  29. So I am normally just like you, totally oblivious, sending my kids to daycare WITH running noses, coughs and low fevers all the time. Yes, my kids get sick ALL the time at daycare. It is rare that they do NOT have runny noses.

    But here’s the thing…I live in Houston. Much too close to Mexico and surrounded by folks that travel to and from Mexico weekly. And while I know that toddler who died probably contracted it IN Mexico, the fact that he was the same age as my baby scares me…I wish they’d say what his underlying health issues were. My kid gets asthma with every. single. cold. He hasn’t had to be hospitalized yet but there have been some close calls. You’d think I’d be more vigilant normally…well this time I’m nervous. Skipping our usual trip to the mall playground today and considering keeping them home from daycare tomorrow. There are 30 suspected cases in my county and the tests take so long to confirm that we just have no idea what the deal is. I feel like such a nut.

  30. Another crapy mom here…I live in Texas and am not worried. Thousands of people die every year from the “regular” flu! Come on people! However, I do think I am having sympathy symtoms. Body achs and low grade fever yesterday. Ugh…

  31. From the WHO website:
    “The United States Government has reported 109 laboratory confirmed human cases, including one death. Mexico has reported 97 confirmed human cases of infection, including seven deaths. “

    These are laboratory confirmations, probable cases are higher, and a probable case is constituted by a person who has tested positive by a rapid Influenza A test and have had a known close contact with a person who tested positive for H1N1, or who live in an area where h1n1 isknown to be circulating (that is from the CDC website)

  32. I have no idea what you are talking about.

    In other words, covering my ears and running away singing “La, la, la, la…!”

    Sometimes the media REALLY irks me.

  33. Unfortunately for me, I live near one of the California schools that is closed, AND I am a pediatrician! you can imagine what the phones in our office are doing. People are just out of control, asking us if they should avoid eating in restaurants because the Mexicans work there, etc… GET A GRIP! I am just not that worked up about the situation. Tons of people die every year from the regular flu, you don’t hear about that on the news every year. Good for you for not flipping out!

  34. I am anti Purell (germs on hands vs. nasty chemicals?, I’ll take the germs). And despite being very lazy about washing her hands, my daughter has survived to see her 21st month. So no, no quarantine for us.

    I hate this alarmist culture that we live it. We have to be scared of something…today it is swine flu, tomorrow, who knows. It distracts from all the REAL issues. Last time I checked thousands of people are still dying of AIDS EVERY DAY. Where is our threat level for that?

  35. I wasn’t worried about this before today and then on the radio I heard something about how it is a mix of bird flu, swine flu, and regular people flu and after that I decided to go from not caring to really really not caring. Oh an my word verification is whiba which is kind of fun to say.

  36. I’m not stressing either. I think the media like always is making a big to do about nothing.

    Great photo choice, btw!

  37. Our pre-school sent home a note with my son today to let me know that he ‘coughed a little during his nap’ and to keep him home if he showed other flu-like symptoms. I almost thought it was a joke when his teacher mentioned it.

    Totally not sweating it, and my kids both came down with slight fevers the day the news ‘broke.’

  38. Nope … I haven’t done anything here. Although my daughter had a fever last night and I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you I did look up the symptoms! lol

  39. You might be an alarmist if…

    You through away a perfectly good bunch of asparagus because it was “hencho en Mexico.”

    You make your child use purell after they wash their hands, because their might have been germs on the soap dispenser.

    You wear a mask when you take a walk outside.

    Meh, me? I’m convinced that Swine Flu was actually generated in the petri dish right next to Tamiflu.

  40. My daughter’s school sent home a flyer about swine flu today and my immediate response was, “well, this is a bit of an overreaction.” Yeah, I’m not worried. People die from the flu all the time folks. This isn’t that much different.

  41. We were flying in airplanes in the weeks and days before the outbreak was announced. CA, TX and New Zealand. And we’re fine.

  42. Where we live, there aren’t any cases yet known. At least, not within 15 miles. But I remember anthrax, I remember the swine flu of the 70s, I remember SARS. All of these things are horrid to those that they hit hard. But for most healthy people, they’re nothing. Until I hear that healthy people, adults who are neither old nor immune deficient, are getting hit, I’m not going to worry too much. Hell, regular damn flu kills 39,000 people a year in the U.S., and no one notices (except their families, of course). I will admit to being a bit concerned because both of my grandmas are in assisted living facilities, and for my neighbor with a weak immune system due to lupis. But for all out fear and panic to affect me? No, not yet by a long shot. Hell, I’m unemployed at the moment. If they send the kids home, we’ll bake cookies.

  43. I’m not really concerned for myself, either, but that’s generally the way I roll. I did buy a bottle of bleach, you know, to disinfect and to purify water if it’s nearing the end of the world. Not sure exactly where I put the bleach after I got it though.

    However, if I were to be alarmist, I’d point out that part of the reason this is causing so much hype, at least in Mexico is that it is killing the healthy adults, rather than solely targeting young, old, sick. Here, though, not so much. Yet.

  44. this isn’t the kind of thing I worry about, although sometimes I think I should. Especially since my 6 year old was complaining of a sore throat tonight, and 6 of his classmates missed school today due to illness (of one kind or another.) I do live in L.A., so I should probably be giving it more thought. But it’s hard for me to worry about what might maybe possibly COULD happen, I’d rather save my energy to completely freak out once it actually happens and I’m totally unprepared for it. Yeah. That’s my mothering policy.

  45. I’m not stressing about it at all or changing my routine, which includes letting my almost 6 month old sit on the *gasp* carpet without a freshly washed blanket under her.

    But then I’m a bit of a slacker, really

  46. Boy, I’ve been stuck at home with a crabby 2-year old with a fever and cold symptoms. I suspect she has Whine Flu…

  47. Probably at this point you have a better chance of being struck by lightening than dying from the Swine flu.

    On the other hand, I’m wondering if they have Tamiful in Tanzania.

  48. I hate the news…I mean really hate it. The words “pandemic” and “plague” sound so much better than the real, day-to-day crap that’s going on, so they report the hell out of that and, would you look at that!, their ratings go up and their advertisers get more money! Who knew???

    Ugh. The truth of the matter is that thousands of people die of the regular old flu every year. You’ll like this website, Do I Have Pig Flu dot com:
    http://doihavepigflu.com/

  49. I’m trying so very hard not to be rude to all the folks truly panicking about this. I’m nice that way.

    I do, though, really hope my kid doesn’t get sick while all this is going on because the last thing I want to do is hang out in a crowded doctor’s office with a bunch of snotty kids. And I mean literally snotty, not figuratively.

  50. Ha ha, I feel the same way. my mom is trying to tell me to stay in the house and not to take my 9 month old daughter out unless I practically slather her and assault everyone near her with Purell. Way to overreact everyone!

  51. Like with anything we have to take necessary precautions, but the media is really taking this one too far. It’s like they are tired of reporting on the bad economy and now that President Obama has passed the 100 days in office mark they have nothing better to do.

  52. Slacker mom reporting for duty! I’m trying so hard to remember to make my 2 year old wash his hands before eating and stopping hiding his binkies under the furniture so he can retrieve them when I take one away. But to be truthful, I suck. It probably makes it worse that I am a high school teacher and we are located about 20 miles from the only confirmed case in Ohio. I just can’t seem to get too worked up about this.
    (Although – it does creep me out a little that I just finished a book about a plague that wiped out half the population and originated in Mexico!)
    Where is that Purell????

  53. The smartest take on the swine flu I’ve heard, well, ever.

    Our media, and the relentless pursuit of a story, regardless of truth yet again proves both how powerful they are, and how disgusting.

  54. Well, this is a tough call, but we have been hearing from a doctor who has been to health department meetings here in central Texas. I would not take this thing too lightly, people.

    For more info, go here:
    http://crib-notes.blogspot.com

    More info and distinctions than I’ve seen anywhere else, and it’s not from the media; it’s from people in the know.

  55. I think the common sense gland of society has been replaced with an over-reactionary gland…. This winter, school was cancelled for my son the NIGHT BEFORE, without a single flake on the ground. And not a single one fell until 1:00 the next day. Ridiculous.

    I do like one of the comments about using this as an opportunity to stop nail-biting though…

  56. ya I haven’t jumped on the crazy swine flu bandwagon yet either. I’m pretty stinking sure that more people have died from the regular flu this year than the damn swine flu.

    Although…now that u mention it…my throat is sore….

  57. I'm not stressing about it. I live in Jersey City & work in Manhattan. I'm traveling to central america next week on vacation. But I'm not freaking out at all. And I'm pregnant, so I kind of wonder if I should be freaking out. I'm just not.

  58. You are definitely not the only one who isn’t stressing. The mainstream media makes me want to stick a fork in my eye. It’s insane how they report on this stuff with ratings in mind. Everyone listens all day long and assumes the worst without considering all the facts. This is certainly cause to be careful, especially if you already have compromised health, but not cause to worry as much as we do.

  59. Amazing isn’t it? Such little things – a few hundred people WORLDWIDE with a headache and fever – can just shut down the entire globe. I guess it’s a great example of the “Power of Small;” the tiniest things can absolutely shape the universe!

    Lisa

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