Pandemics are not new. The 1918 ‘Spanish flu’ pandemic killed between 20 and 100 million people; 1957, and the 1968 pandemic killed approximately 1 million; SARS in Asia in 2003; plus, we also live with AIDS, TB and malaria pandemics.
What has changed is our awareness of them and consequently our responses. It is therefore fascinating how the UK government have communicated the latest outbreak using TV spots, ads, leaflets (the Royal Mail must be delighted) and letters / telephone calls from schools, all of which are very costly. Why not radio and digital encouraging people to download the leaflet? Alleyn’s School shut due to the virus and none of the kids in my local park had heard about it through social networks (just when we needed Flash on You Tube!).
I do like the slogan; ‘Catch it. Bin it. Kill it’, appropriately dramatic. And the prevention of the spread seems clear:
1. Wash your hands.
Stupidly simple response, but compulsive hand-washing prevents the spread. It’s the droplets that spread the disease. These get on our hands and everything we touch. Wash your hands as if you work in a hospital or operating room using hot water, soap.
2. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
Influenza is spread with droplets that come out of your mouth or nose.
3. Stay home.
If you’re sick, and wash your hands
4. Don’t touch your face.
Keep your hands out of your eyes, nose and mouth — direct routes to the bloodstream that allow a virus to bypass the barrier of the skin.
Liquid droplets tend to settle on objects— things that people touch including coins, hand rails, and door knobs.
Scientific evidence shows that face masks don’t protect people from becoming infected.