Swine Flu Warning.

Dear readers:

Concerning the spread of H1N1 virus… I decided to ring the Government’s new Swine Flu Helpline yesterday to check on what the symptoms are. Basically, if you wake up looking like this…


Get a Flu Shot.  Quickly.

This joke isn’t funny if…

1). You have the flu.

2). This guy is better looking than you.

Get a Flu Shot. Or two.

Just as importantly… make sure to wash your hands this winter. A lot. And by a lot, I mean a lot.

Another lesson… Photoshop is a dangerous tool in the hands of a computer savvy 12 year old.

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Which Will Make Me Sicker? The Swine Flu or the Media?

Remember When Pigs Where Our Friends?  I Wonder If They Are Upset About the Whole Bacon Thing?Last winter I wrote (slopped down… whatever) two blogs about the overreaction surrounding this country’s newest arch nemesis… the Swine Flu.

If you haven’t heard, the Swine Flu is not our friend.

How do I know this?

Because it has all of the characteristics of the perfect arch enemy.

It’s mysterious, has a cool name, comes from a less than intelligent animal, gives schools the opportunity to close or dismiss early, and it doesn’t like children.

Basically, it’s kryptonite for school nurses.

And you know it’s a big deal because nothing can stop school nurses.

This spring school districts all across the country were burdened with the decision about what to do if their community experienced an outbreak of the dreaded Pig Flu (not as catchy, I know).

Government officials were happy to do their part to fan the crisis.

The Department of Diseases Contracted from Filthy Farm Animals (which I personally didn’t even know existed) put out daily emails explaining what schools should do if one of their students had the flu.

I appreciated their guidance in the first few emails. Though, I must admit my interest waned after email #154 (and this came in day 2 of our long national Swine Flu crisis).

To the amazement of no one (other than government officials), schools have a pretty good handle on kids who are ill.

Personally, I have a standard reaction when a student gets sick in the hallway.

Step One: I try not to step in it.

Step Two: I try not to breathe so I don’t throw up in the hallway (no one likes the Vomit Chain Reaction).

Step Three: I send the student to the office so the nurse can comfort them until mom, dad, or grandma can come and pick them up (it always seems like grandma… never grandpa… another one of education’s great mysteries).

Step Four: Call a custodian and ruin his/her day by telling them a 1st grader’s stomach just exploded (I have never seen a custodian smile after receiving this dreaded news… and they should because it could have been something worse than the stomach explosion).

Step Five: Involves Mom/Dad/Grandma. They simply keep the child home until he or she feels better.

It’s a tried and true plan.

Simple but effective.

And it served us well before the Department of Diseases Contracted from Filthy Farm Animals came along.

The problem wasn’t that the government wanted us to take this situation seriously, it was the media’s overreaction to the entire event.


Yes, I said it. The media overreacts.

And then they beat the overreaction to death.

This goes on and on and on and on until a more exciting story comes along.

Remember Gov. Mark Sanford from South Carolina? The guy taking secret “vacations” to Argentina to “see” his girlfriend.

He was all the rage (and still would be) before Michael Jackson passed away.

I’m not saying the Governor was happy about the unexpected death of Mr. Jackson, but I’m not say he wasn’t…

In the case of the Swine Flu, the media has had all summer to get revved up to cover this story as the flu season cranks up.

And schools will be right in the middle of it.

Lucky us.

One day we may look back and appreciate the good old days when flu was just a smelly interruption to a winter school day.

I for one am going to take this latest outbreak of Swine Flu seriously.

I’m getting my annual flu shot for $60 (used to cost $8 five years ago).

I only regret there isn’t a Media Shot that would prevent me from getting sick as I watch all of the “Swine Flu and Schools” stories on the news this winter.

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Calm Down Citizens. Schools Can Remain Open Despite the Swine Flu. Duh.

School Closed?  I Don’t Think So.On May 5, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced they were no longer recommending that schools close based on a suspected case of Swine Flu.

In a nutshell their recommendations are now:

* Students, faculty or staff with flu-like symptoms should stay home from school.

* Students, faculty or staff who have continuing flu-like symptoms should see their physician.

* Students, faculty or staff who get sick during the school day should be isolated from other students and sent home.

* Students who are ill should not go to child care facilities with other children.

* Students, faculty and staff should frequently wash their hands with soap.

* Students, faculty and staff should cover their mouths when coughing.

Now this is the type of quality advice that you can only get from the federal government.

What would we do without their competent leadership and direction.

The next time a pig sneezes on me, I have all the confidence in the world that our government will protect me.

Of course, I also believe the news media will fairly and accurately report the information.

Now that we have the Swine Flu Saga behind us, we can focus on more pressing issues.

Such as:

* When it rains, go inside. And don’t look up with your mouth open.

* Don”t take a nap inside your oven.

* Don”t eat glass.

* Never mow your yard while holding a baby.

* And most importantly, never smell anything moments after someone says “Eeewww, smell this”

Actually I am lying about the Swine Flu Saga being behind us. I am sure we will get to do this all over again next fall.

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Swine Flu. Just When Schools Thought They Had Heard of Everything.

Common Sense.

You may not have heard, but there seems to be a problem with Swine Flu. It hasn’t really been covered by the news media, so don’t feel badly if you’ve missed it (this is a little thing I like to call sarcasm).

The way it has been explained to me, it could be a pandemic.

I am not sure what a pandemic means, but it sure sounds scary.

There must not be anything else newsworthy at this time of year in order for this story to become so big.

While I don’t want to take this situation lightly, I have grown up in the generation that has been beset by the end of the world on at least 20 different occasions.

The Cold War. Shark attacks. Hurricanes. Fires. Wars. Cigarettes. Y2K. Bird flu. Terrorists. O.J. Anthrax. Planes crashing into stuff. The Unabomber. Global warming. Banks. Weapons of Mass Destruction. Pirates. Drug cartels. Sarah Palin. Gangs taking over schools. Paris Hilton. Michael Jackson and that creepy monkey (or creepy Michael Jackson and that monkey).

There has been a chance all of these could affect me directly and in some cases deliver my untimely death. I was especially concerned about bumping into O.J. at a golf course.

On top of that, the good people at the National Weather Service now tell me a tornado or some sort of storm is going to attack me.

Every 15 minutes. Right in the middle of my favorite TV show.

I have become numb.

As usual the focus of health and safety is dropped directly in the lap of public schools.

The government in all their wisdom (again… for the uninitiated, this is called sarcasm), has recommended that public schools be shut down for at least 14 days if there is a suspicion that a student has a headache, bellyache, or the sniffles that were contrived from a pig.

Easy enough. Students seldom complain about not feeling well while they are at school. Shouldn’t be too hard to tell if a child has picked up the flu from a farm animal.

President Obama might have been more helpful if he had insisted, during his speech, that all schools should clean (w/ bleach) all desks, door handles, bathrooms, etc. each and every night. No exceptions.

Put us all on notice.

To me, this is a better plan of action than just saying this new flu strain is “bad” and we should be careful.

And we need to remember to wash our hands.

Closing schools or even talking about it should be a last resort.

In these difficult economic times, asking parents (especially single parents) to find and pay for extra day care for up to two weeks is a huge burden.

I am not saying that we shouldn’t take the Swine Flu seriously, because we should.

But taking students from schools and putting them around other kids in day care doesn’t really seem like progress to me.

I wonder if our country’s efforts to educate people through the media crosses the line, and we end up just scaring ourselves.

And our children. And older people.

There are so many other issues that don’t seem to qualify as “breaking news”. Most have been on our radar for years and unfortunately don’t have a catchy name like Swine Flu (it should be noted flu is so much scarier when it comes from an animal… I am dreading the Dog Flu next winter because all Buddy the Dog wants to do is lick me and nap).

In 2008, the following are numbers of people predicted to die from each disease or event (yes, I did actual research for this blog… please don’t come to expect this type of extra effort in the future… information taken from the Disease Control and Prevention Database).

In the United States 307,655 people would die of cancer.

7,258 of skin cancer. 21,289 of colon cancer. 26,987 of prostate cancer.

Oh, it gets better. Or worse if it happens to you. Especially if you were one of the 12,372 people who were murdered.

57 people perished by falling off a cliff. 1 person “bit” it by a shark attack. 40 were killed when struck by lightning.

4,624 died in a motorcycle accident. 1,062 unfortunately fell down steps, and didn’t get up.

8,432 passed away from HIV/AIDS. Remember when this was the “breaking story”? Now old news.

It’s not as exciting to report on anymore. But people are still sick.

It goes on and on. 7 died from an incident with sports equipment. 1,737 in a fire. 2 got it when their idiot doctor left something in them during surgery.

28 in an earthquake, avalanche, or landslide.

55,105 had a stroke from which they didn’t recover.

43 got stung by a bee and didn’t recover.

My point here… research is exhausting. And it is evidently not safe to leave your house, play sports, or have surgery.

Americans get sick, hurt, and die from lots of things. What we shouldn’t do is scare children needlessly and close schools because it makes people feel better temporarily.

Schools certainly have to do their part, but why are we the only ones being mentioned that need to help slow down the pandemic.

What about malls? And churches? And businesses, factories, colleges, the Kentucky Derby, NASCAR, Major League Baseball games, the NBA playoffs and even CNN?

I wouldn’t be surprised if more people work in the CNN building in Atlanta than there are children attending school in the 5 closest counties to me.

Any chance they will close? Didn’t think so.

Can’t we be proactive with our safety and still use good judgment?

I think the only thing that won’t recover from this latest drama is our common sense as a country.

It may be dead forever.

Please remember to cover your mouth when you cough, wash your hands, and stay at home if you are sick.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.