Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Be Careful!

A concerned friend/health professonal sent this article to me yesterday with this subject: "Be careful!"


(If you don't want to follow the link, the article is about a boy who got a drug-resistant strain of a staph infection called MRSA that spread throughout his body. This type of infection is, in extreme cases, a "flesh-eating" infection. The article included ways to prevent such an infection.)

I do appreciate health tips and that articles such as these are sent as good faith warnings. But sometimes.... some articles cause more warning than anything.

Let me explain.

Among the "prevention tips" mentioned in this article:

— Wash hands thoroughly and often with soap and water.

— Keep cuts and abrasions clean and covered with a bandage until healed.

— Avoid contact with other people’s wounds or material contaminated by wounds.

— Do not share items such as razors, soap, ointments and balms, towels or wash cloths, clothing or uniforms.

In essence, these "tips" are all things I already do. Don't many people already follow these guidelines? But, learning about this article is going to cause a lot of (probably) unnecessary worry, angst, and obsessive hand-washing in me. Because now, on top of "normal" germs, I have to worry about this flesh-eating drug resistant germ that hangs out at gyms.

I suppose this article could fall under "Contradictory Medical Advice," actually.

Working out at the gym can have positive cardiovascular benefits!

But, better not work out at a gym or your flesh will rot from your body!

Or, maybe I'm just prone to hypochondria. (I am).

Yet universally, I think that many health warnings are like useless terrorism warnings of, to paraphrase: we're at an increased risk for something scary and terrible to happen even though we don't know of anything specific so "Be Vigilant" and "Report Suspicious Behavior!"


I mean if we thought behavior was suspicious, wouldn't we report it anyway, without the warning? I would. But now, everytime I take the El, every time I go in a downtown high-rise, and everytime I am in an airport I can only think that something really bad could happen!

And now there's this MRSA shit we have to worry about?

Are we safe nowhere?

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