According to the Guardian, “The World Health Organisation told its member states today that swine flu has become the first pandemic in 41 years, after calling a meeting of experts to discuss the threat posed by the H1N1 virus.”
Most people reading that will shrug and say, Eh, who cares?
My guess is that in September or October, H1N1 will tear through North America (and Europe, and other northern territories) during flu season. The odds are that it will remain mild. Nonetheless, by September, I hope to have stocked up on oseltamivir/Tamiflu, and zanimivir/Relenza (there’s some indication that Tamiflu may eventually prove ineffective–butt I probably can’t take Relenza because it can trigger the same response as sulfa drugs, which I don’t tolerate), and possibly celecoxib/Celebrex, a COX-2 inhibitor that looks like the best bet to tackle the super-immune response which ends up doing most of the killing in this kind of pandemic.
Do I expect the world to grind to halt and for legions to die? No. Nor do I expect disaster in everday life–yet before I cross a road I look left, then right, then left again; when I get in the car, I fasten my seatbelt; every six months, we check the smoke alarms and kitchen fire extinguisher. I prepare, and then I forget about it. It’s just a habit–a minor hassle for, so far, zero return. But the one time I need it, wow, it will pay for every single moment of inconvenience. And if I never need any of these precautions then, hey, it’s a *minor* inconvenience.
So take a minute, think about it. What minor inconvenience will you undertake today that might save your life tomorrow?