Thursday, May 21, 2009

shingata influenza

Over the weekend, the swine flu hit Osaka. They call it shingata influenza or new type of influenza, they have left the word swine out to deter people from avoiding pork!

Everyone is wearing masks. Satoshi's office included. I had French on Tuesday, I wasn't wearing a mask and felt the eyes of everyone on me as I rode the train. You could actually tell that the amount of people walking around Umeda was less. I haven't been wearing a mask because I don't believe it can prevent you from catching the virus. Good hygiene can...washing your hands, gargling.

Everyone is on edge too. Just a cough or sniffle will get you the evil eye! especially if you are not wearing a mask. I sat down on the train next to someone (who was wearing a mask) and they actually moved away! (excuse me??)

There is a run on these masks most drugstores have sold out. And the makers are busily working overtime to try to fill the demand. I have also heard that someone is scalping them on the internet for 10 times the price that they should be. Luckily, we had some so Satoshi could bring some to his office.

The part that has me shaking my head is most of the schools in Osaka are closed for a week, to try to contain the virus. The kids and their parents are supposed to be at home during this time, but what do I see on my way to class? Parents toting their kids to the department store, wearing their masks (of course!)...sigh.

Hope this influenza gets contained soon!


Rick said...

Kat- when the flu first started hitting the news here, the reporter visited the 3M distributor of actual respirator type masks. The person said all those other masks will not save a healthy person from this flu virus. It has to be a certain level rated respirator mask to even work.

I just read this other blog this morning and thought it was pretty funny.

K and S said...

Thanks Rick, will check out the link you left!

Take care.

Abigail (aka Mamatouille) said...

I noticed a lady in the car behind me yesterday pulling down her mask every time she took a drag on her cigarette!

And have you heard the loud trucks driving around lately, telling people to stay inside and gargle? SO loud.

KirkK said...

Hi Kat - To be really safe(other than using a full face mask with a particle filter) you'd need those TB masks and get fitted so that the mask will fit properly. Because many times viruses travel on carrier molecules like mucous which are quite large, some barrier is better than no barrier, and if anything, the person wearing the mask can actually protect you from catching what they have.

ccna said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

Anonymous said...

I wonder how the face masks came to be used so widely? The swine flu has actually started a resurgence of face masks after falling out of use for a while.

My hint to avoid getting sick: Don't touch door handles! As much as possible, nudge the door open with your elbow. Use used paper towels or a napkin to open doors with handles. I started doing this maybe 3 years ago and haven't had a really bad cold/flu since. And I always used to get sick!

K and S said...

So far we haven't had those vans Abigail, though I have seen people with their masks on their chins while they drag on the ciggies!

That is good info, Kirkk! Thanks!

Thanks CCNA!

Door handles aren't much of a problem for me, it is the rings hanging from the roof of the train that I have to touch (to keep from falling while standing), Anon! I think if more of us could sit rather than stand, that would decrease some of the germ passing. Thanks for the tip!

Take care everyone!

Rona Y said...

I haven't been wearing a mask, either. They make my eyeglasses fog up! But someone is sending me a bunch of N95 masks, so I may have to start just so my friend's kindness won't be for naught. Most of the ones people wear here don't give adequate protection from viruses (plus they don't even fit them properly), so they may as well not wear them at all.

Assuming a person is healthy and is living with other healthy people, it's to some degree better to catch the virus now than if/when it morphs into something like the Spanish flu of the early 1900's. That's what they're expecting to happen, and if you catch it now, at least you'll be immune down the road!

K and S said...

Gosh I hope it doesn't morph Rona!

Take care.

OkiHwn said...

Nobody seems to be wearing masks in Okinawa.

K and S said...

I hope they don't find anyone with it there Nate, otherwise you will be seeing more masks there.

Take care.

Rowena... said...

Some people can be so paranoid -- why can't they just use common sense like what you said? Hands are the dirtiest areas on the body with what we touch all day (the handlebar on a shopping cart, public transport, money, doorknobs on a public bathroom (like a restaurant) where it's for both men and women. Ugh...I always use a piece of tissue to open the door after I'm done washing my hands.

So far no big scare in Italy even if there were to be, no one would think to wear masks. It just would spoil the look of their gucci shades and armani suits. ;-P

2kamuela47 said...

I agree with you too. Good hygiene will protect more. And those masks well I guess everyone is on edge because of the cases. Hawaii I think has over 20 cases but I don't see everyone wearing those masks. Keep healthy and I knwo we will all get through this. Take care Kat!

K and S said...

Definitely one of the dirtiest parts on the body, Rowena & Laura. I just hope they can contain this, I'd hate to see everyone have to be indoors for a long period of time...

Take care you two.

Debinhawaii said...

You rebel you! ;-) I don't blame you for not wanting to wear one. I do have hand sanitizer attached to me, in the car, in my purse, at home...

Jenster said...

The swine flu hysteria has already come and passed through our area, thank goodness. They had closed down a few schools at the first sign of a suspected case and then realized how ineffective that was when all the kids from the closed schools ended up going to day care or to the parks and malls!

I think if wearing masks make people feel better than that's their perogative, but they certainly shouldn't use it as an excuse not to practice basic hygiene or avoid someone like you, Kat.

K and S said...

I should carry around some of that alcohol santizer gel, Deb :)

The same thing is happening here Jenster, all the kids are getting together outside or at karaoke boxes :(

Take care you two.

Nitrile Gloves said...

One way to lessen your chances of becoming infected with a flu virus is to wear a mask. The effectiveness of the mask varies with several factors including how you wear it, what type you pick out, and using proper disposal techniques.

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K and S said...

Thanks Nitrile!

Take care.