Wednesday, April 29, 2009

From Swine Flu to Mother Nature with Rabbits to Monk Reflecting our Inner Germaphobe

Swine Flu Update (or should that be H1N1 Virus Update or Mexican Flu or North American Flu Update?): The first United States death from Swine Flu/H1N1 Virus is in the news today. A child, a Mexican citizen visiting Houston, Tex., reports CNN, has died.

Based on hits to this blog on the short Tamiflu and Relenza piece I posted yesterday, I think the death has rattled people. Tamiflu and Relenza are the two drugs that W.H.O. (World Health Organization) says can treat Swine Flu, a disease for which there is no vaccination.

However, with all this focus on Swine Flu, it's important to remember that the regular flu we see each year is probably more dangerous. CNN reports that more than 13,000 people have died in the United States from complications related to having the "regular flu" since January.

Meanwhile, some people in Mexico are offended that the new strain of Swine Flu is being associated with Mexico. The name and association is a legitimate concern because bigots will use anything to club another ethnic groups. I've heard talk that some people want to call it the "Mexican Flu" and use it to beat the anti-immigration drum while playing on American fears.

In addition, pork producers are crying foul, saying the name Swine Flu is damaging their business. It appears President Barck Obama and the government may have dropped the name Swine Flu in favor of the not-so-catchy "H1N1 Virus" label.

Saner minds suggest the Swine Flu be called the "North American Flu."

Finally, regarding Swine Flu, the Mother Nature Network, per the New York Times and other news sources, reports patient zero of this Swine Flu outbreak may have been identified. The NYT says he's 5-year-old Édgar Hernández of La Gloria, Mexico (pictured), and it's possible he may have been the first person to contract this new strain of influenza. He is doing well. (Times story at this link, from which comes the child's photo.)

But It's Natural:

Having mentioned Mother Nature via the Mother Nature Network, I'm posting one of my favorite commercials at the moment. All this talk of illness, including the superbug MRSA that Oprah and Dr. Oz. talked about on her show yesterday, which is worse than the Swine Flu, btw, reminds me that we love to idealize nature as though "natural" is harmless. Well, these bugs--Swine Flu and regular flu in the news lately plus MRSA and the flesh eating bacteria on Oprah's show--are all natural as well.

When I posted the first black Mother Nature commercial on Earth Day, the one above was not online yet. It's another Vitamin Water commercial that has Mother Nature (an African-American woman in a power suit) as CEO of Water, Inc. In this one she's canceling vacations and getting on a rabbit's case for needing more time off to see to his pregnant wife.

I like this one better than the first one I posted. I even like it better than the old Chiffon Margarine "it's Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature" commercial (Attack of the Wiccans: Mother Nature Phobia).

And more on Nature:

Do you watch the TV show Monk on USA starring Tony Shaloub? It's about the detective who's afraid of germs, all germs. If he were real, after the last week of health scares, he'd be locked in his house right now, taping up his windows and caulking all holes.

My favorite line from the show is in a scene where Monk is in the woods and puts his hand on something he'd rather not have on him (can't recall exactly) and he whines, "Ohhhh. I've got nature on me!"

Here's his theme song, "It's a Jungle Out There" by Randy Newman, posted in honor of all the people who've been scared to emotional death by the Swine/Mexican/North American/H1N1 Virus Flu stories. Let's calm ourselves and laugh at our inner germaphobe.

It's A Jungle Out There
Lyrics by Randy Newman

It's a jungle out there
Disorder and confusion everywhere
No one seems to care
Well I do
Hey, who's in charge here?
It's a jungle out there
Poison in the very air we breathe
Do you know what's in the water that you drink?
Well I do, and it's amazing
People think I'm crazy, 'cause I worry all the time
If you paid attention, you'd be worried too
You better pay attention
Or this world we love so much might just kill you
I could be wrong now, but I don't think so!
'Cause there's a jungle out there.
It's a jungle out there.

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