Skip to comments.They Tell Us To Practise Sensible Hygene, But Hygene And Children Just Don't Mix (SARS)
Posted on 04/26/2003 5:10:38 PM PDT by blam
'They tell us to practise sensible hygiene, but hygiene and children just don't mix'
Worry about Sars makes this a difficult time to be a neurotic mother in Canada's largest city
By Karen Zagor
27 April 2003
When I dropped my three-year-old off at nursery school on Friday morning, one of the other little darlings in the group was coughing. "Sars," I thought. "Get that kid out of here."
What I really wanted to do was to grab my child, throw her in the back of the car and drive to my in-laws' cottage on a remote, northern lake.
But life in Sars Central is still staggering on, so I bit my tongue, kissed Emma good-bye and left her to catch the virus du jour.
This is not a good time to be a neurotic mother in Toronto. Even before the World Health Organisation slapped its travel warning on the city last Wednesday, I knew the world was coming to an end. We had already had war and a series of unseasonal late-April ice storms to contend with. And since the middle of March, we have been living with Sars.
Despite the massively reassuring assessment that the WHO's decision is "a bunch of bullshit" from Donald Low, chief microbiologist at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital, it is hard not to worry. The news is not comforting. Yesterday, health officials announced the death of an otherwise healthy 44-year-old and eight more probable cases. So far, there have been 19 deaths in Toronto. The world death rate from Sars keeps being revised upwards and now stands at about 6 per cent. In contrast, the death rate from the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 was only about 2.5 per cent. Nurses are getting infected while wearing full protective gear. And the virus can live on doorknobs for 24 hours.
Health officials say there is no cause for alarm as long as you practise sensible hygiene, but hygiene and children don't mix. At home, my husband and I no longer fret about how to get Arianna, our six-year-old, to do her maths homework. Instead, we debate how to convince the kids to wash their hands constantly without scaring them to death. At dinner tonight, Arianna brightly chirped up: "Three people died from Sars today, mummy. I heard it on the radio." Luckily, her idea of death comes from Disney cartoons.
Every day, I pray that no one I love will need to see a doctor for the next year. Doctors' offices are not friendly places these days. Most are plastered with signs saying: "If you have a cough, go home. If you have a cough and a fever, get out of here immediately and go to the emergency room. If you have a cough and a fever and a really bad headache, get the entire family measured for coffins."
My friend's daughter has bronchitis. She knows it is bronchitis because the child often has bronchitis. The doctor won't see her because all respiratory cases are being referred to the hospitals, but my friend doesn't want to take her daughter to the hospital where she could be exposed to Sars.
Still, every day we send our children into crowded schools while we take public transport to work. But anyone who says life here is normal is deluded. Hand-sanitising gel is flying off the shelves.
As for face masks, people may not be wearing them on the streets yet, but they are buying them. I know, because when I abashedly asked the pharmacist for 10 masks last week she told me there were only eight left. I bought them.
Epidemic of conspiracy theories takes hold
Conspiracy theories about Sars have reached epidemic proportions. These are the main mad rumours:
Germ warfare: The virus was created artificially, possibly as a bacteriological weapon, according to Sergei Kolesnikov, a Russian academic. He believes the spread of the virus could have begun accidentally, as a result of "an unsanctioned leakage" from a laboratory.
Population cull: The epidemic is being used to "culture the mass mind" for the arrival of "the Big One" a biological agent that will facilitate the annihilation of approximately a third to a half of the world's population.
Anti-travel: Less mobile populations, and fewer people in general, are easier to control. The "global industrialists and members of the ultra-rich" have therefore leaked the virus into the community.
Money-spinner: Sars has brought business for the medical, pharmaceutical, security, and law enforcement sectors. That's the motive; the method of infection is unknown.
Allied domination: The US, the UK and other countries want to undermine China's growing economic might, which is threatening their plans for domination.
And these are some of the "cures" for Sars coming out of China:
* Many people have been boiling vinegar and eating whole cloves of raw garlic to fight off the virus.
* Turnip prices have jumped in Beijing after the vegetable was touted as a key ingredient in a potion to combat Sars.
* Carrots, leeks and ginger have leapt in popularity, too, after the popular Star Daily tabloid published its recipe for fighting the virus.
* One official health newspaper in China recommended dead silkworms and cicada skins.
Crossed my mind too.
-I most certainly would not drop my child off at that den of illness, and I would be at that lakehouse protecting my children.