Archive

Posts Tagged ‘flu’

I’m Sick of these Mother F#@!in’ Germs on this Mother F#@!in’ Plane!

December 23, 2010 1 comment

Via Wikimedia Commons

I’m sitting in the airport, patiently waiting for my flight home to board. Its late, I’m tired, and I just want to go home.

To pass the time, I decided to catch up on my news reading. So I open up Google Reader and one article jumps out at me for some reason:

6 Places Germs Breed in a Plane

Thanks CNN, like THATS what I need to see right now.

At least they admit in their opening paragraph that they are just trying to score readership by scaring as many weary travellers as possible.

We dug deep to identify the major germ zones on planes (and tips to avoid them). No, you’re not likely to contract meningitis, but better safe than sorry, right?

The article goes on to identify certain “hot zones” to watch out for germs (the lavatory is one, surprise!), and what kind of deadly viruses they may carry (i.e. the flu, and a “superbug”! Booooo!)

Ok, maybe its the skepticism in me, maybe its the sleep deprivation. But seriously, is anyone buying this?

The truth is that ANY high traffic area will contain germs. Every single one. The bus I took here had some. My workplace had some. YOUR workplace had some.

So does writing an article like this help us at all? I would argue no. As long as you practice good hygiene and common sense (get your flu shot!), you are no more at risk of catching anything on a plane than you are at any other public place.

So shame on you CNN for trying to scare innocent holiday travellers like myself just to drum up readership.

But you know what? I’m gonna forgive you. Why? Partly because its Christmas, but also because I know it will happen again and I’m just gonna have to deal.

Could you pass the hand sanitizer?

Score One For the Good Guys!

November 25, 2010 1 comment

Every so often, a victory comes along that reminds me why we do this.

Blogging about science and skepticism can be tough. You wonder “are we really making a difference?”

Yes, we are.

The anti-vax group SafeMinds.org tried to purchase ad time to show a “PSA” trying to convince people not to receive the flu shot containing any mercury-based preservatives.

Let’s not kid ourselves. This group is anti-vax, and trying to sneak their message in under the guise of being “pro-safe vaccines” as opposed to “anti-vaccines”.

There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that vaccines containing mercury are associated with health problems. Further, there is no evidence that links any adverse health effects to the fetus by administering the flu vaccine to pregnant women, as the SafeMinds ad contends.

Yet the fear mongering continues. If this ad had run, vaccination rates would have dropped. This is a large health risk and puts young children and the elderly in particular danger.

However, a glimmer of hope. AMC refused to show the ad in their theatres, as was announced by SafeMinds.org

SafeMinds was notified late yesterday afternoon that AMC Theaters has decided to block the SafeMinds Public Service Announcement (PSA) on influenza vaccines with mercury. The PSA alerts parents and pregnant women of the presence of mercury in most influenza vaccines and the ample availability of mercury-free alternatives. The CDC has declined to give a preference for the mercury-free versions, so it is important that the public is aware of its options. AMC’s advertising representative had reviewed and approved the PSA to run in AMC cinemas over the Thanksgiving weekend. A small group of vocal vaccine proponents dismissive of mercury concerns learned of the PSA and bombarded the AMC website, leading to the company’s decision to prevent its release. SafeMinds thanks its supporters who viewed the PSA and contributed to its efforts to educate the public to avoid unnecessary mercury exposure. Mercury in all forms is dangerous, especially to the developing fetus and infants, as referenced on the PSA website www.safemindsflu.org. SafeMinds will continue its mission to educate the public on this important healthcare topic.

More info on the whole situation can be found on SkepChick and Science-Based Medicine.

This is a big win for the good guys. Fear of vaccinations is a major threat to public health, particularly children. So we will continue to fight, and hopefully we will see more wins like this one.