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So there is a new-ish strain of bird flu popping up in China, killing people.

I admit to being a germaphobe, and probably, part of the problem that has seen the rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs.  I carry hand sanitizer, I’m super diligent about washing my hands with antibacterial soap, and I nag my loved ones into doing the same.  I use Lysol wipes on all door handles in my house after we’ve had company.  I get a flu shot every year.  When the boys were really new, I made everyone wash their hands before they touched them.  (Thanks, everyone who didn’t get offended.)

So I do everything I can to avoid getting sick.  But my husband is a teacher, and as everyone knows, schools are cesspools of germs, so we catch a lot of viruses anyway.

Still, I might as well take out shares in Purell.  Here’s the scary part about the new flu strain: It “does not show symptoms in infected birds, allowing it to spread rapidly without detection. It also seems to be mutating quickly, meaning it could become contagious among humans.” (Source)  Oh, awesome.

Have you ever seen the movie Contagion?  Terrifying!  It charts the (fictional) origin and spread of a pandemic that kills people across the globe, and the ensuing panic and chaos.  (A reference you’ll only get if you’ve seen the movie :”Stop touching your face” has been a common refrain in our house since we watched it.  And we’re only half-joking.)

Okay, I’ve never been one to live my life in fear, and I know that humankind has been dealing with pandemic flu for centuries, and – being selfish for a moment – I am very lucky to live in a time and in a country where my family’s chances of actually getting ill or dying from something like this are very very small. But, while I wish I was one of those people who could be all chill about this, or one of those really carefree people who thinks – “Well, there’s no stopping it – it’s going to happen eventually,” I’m just not.  I’m staying away from buffet tables and continuing to push elevator buttons with my elbow until “they” – the brilliant scientists who study this stuff – figure it out and come up with a new flu shot.

(Image credit: Muhammad Mahdi Karim, via Wikimedia Commons)

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