Swine Flu Diary

I sneezed.

Immediately I checked if my nails were blue and that if I could breathe properly. Now I definitely wasn’t getting fresh air. I was standing in queue at a closeted billing counter of a departmental store. It was definitely hard to breathe fresh air there.

Other than me, everyone wore masks both inside and outside the mall.  Why not, I am in swine flu capital, Pune. I have to check my symptoms at every sneeze or cough, to be sure.

I do carry a scarf these days to cover my mouth like a bandida, but it’s a suffocating feeling.

Interestingly, Pune girls, even before we had heard of swine flu, have been tying headscarves (instead of helmets) while driving as protection against pollution. Their headscarves are unique in that cover their entire face and head except eyes.

Pune Girls Wearing Headscarves

Pune Girls Wearing Headscarves - Pic courtesy Eric Parker's Photo stream

A new Police Commissioner tried to ban headscarves in vain, amidst the hue and cry of Pune girls. So, owing to use of these headscarves I think, Pune girls at least are safe from air-borne swine flu contamination. 🙂

When I have just put my foot in this city, and am raring to explore it, it is swamped by swine flu germs. Schools, colleges, cinemas and malls are closed.

Kids play wearing masks, domestic help arrives wearing masks. People on streets walk and drive, wearing masks. It’s hard not to feel the scare.

Public Display of Infection - Comic by Brainstuck.com

Public Display of Infection - Comic by Brainstuck.com

But scare we must not.

I am sure your Inbox is full of emails about swine flu, mine sure is. Reader is also full of swine flu advice and cartoons. Here’s a collection of 30 swine flu cartoons. I still thought I would add my two cents.

Swine Flu is curable. Here is a survivor’s story. Note some important points story makes: with medical care, proper fluids and rest you can beat it.

Kids and people with low immunity, who suffer from diseases like AIDS, TB, diabetes or hypertension, are most vulnerable.  It’s said that children even after they are cured, carry the virus in their nasal cavity. So a child may not be showing signs of flu, he/she may still be the carrier.

My revered reader Praneshachar sent me an email with the link to David Icke’s blog. David claims that swine flu virus has been lab created, to promote the sale of flu vaccination. He says:

The Austrian journalist, Jane Bürgermeister, has filed criminal charges with the FBI against the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations, Barack Obama, a Rockefeller, a Rothschild, and others, over a plot she uncovered to cull the population with a deadly swine flu vaccine.

She said that bird flu and swine flu have been developed in laboratories and released on the public with the aim of mass murder through vaccination. Her filed document is called Bioterrorism Evidence.

I am not sure how creditable these claims are, but Roche, the company manufacturing medicine Tamiflu, is laughing all the way to the bank.

Though it must be pointed out that Oxford University researchers claim that Tamiflu can cause side-effects in children, and FDA too warns this drug can cause psychiatric effects in kids.

Coming to the government that we love to bash. The last two Congress governments have a history of appointing comic stooges as cabinet ministers. (Remember Shivraj Patil.) While last health minister Anbumani Ramadoss spent 90% of his time in office on trifle matters like  smoking celebrities like SRK, unethical pub culture and surrogate advertising in IPL; current health minister Mr. Gulam Nabi Azad is no less. First he had suggested TV as solution for population control, now he has accurately pegged the exact percentage of Indians that are going to be affected by swine flu!

Blah Blah Zad - Midday cartoon by Satish Acharya

Blah Blah Zad - Midday cartoon by Satish Acharya

Swine Flu has hit several countries, even Costa Rica’s Noble Prize winner President is down with swine flu. I guess disease is taking monumental proportions because in India, considering that we have had 3 month notice since swine flu first hit in March in Mexico, our health care system is not quite adequate. In Pune , just a week ago only two hospitals were handling (and simultaneously goofing up) with swine flu cases. Private hospitals in the capital city Delhi too are more or less reluctant to handle swine flu!

This disease thankfully is limited only to cities, not a single rural case has so far been reported.

I wonder when this pandemic will be over. Scientists say, that swine flu could be more lethal in winters. This claim does have some logic considering that even though swine flu emerged from Mexico, it spread like forestfire in all the colder countries like US, UK, Canada, France and Netherlands.

People have already filed a PIL not to celebrate Dahi-handi and Ganesh festivals in Maharashtra. Goa government is pondering if they should invoke Epidemic Control Act, 1897 to keep out foreign tourists.

Mahendra has written this post listing swine flu helpline numbers and contact centers. List of government-approved hospitals in all cities is here.

Before I sign off, I leave you with links to few useful articles about swine flu.

Everything You Wanted to Know about Swine Flu

Precautions to Prevent Swine Flu

10 Home Remedies to Prevent Swine Flu

Seven Steps When You are Hit by Swine Flu

P.S: Click on images to see the original source. Thanks!

46 Responses to “Swine Flu Diary”

  1. 1 dinu August 13, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    😦 take care of yourself …

  2. 2 vishesh unni raghunathan August 13, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Hmm…well swines ain’t going to get it, so think I am safe 🙂

  3. 4 praneshachar August 13, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    very vivid post on swine.Thanks for reference but I only forwarded what I got still appreciate your mention
    take care I think we in india are overreacting and mostly the present media is taking it out of bounds.
    still please take care and get urself cehcked for any thing u doubt
    I think mumbai too is almost showdown with schools etc., closed I am there tomorrow till sunday
    have good healty time free from h1n1


  4. 5 Smita August 13, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    You know the best newspaper to read these days is HT, they are giving such a balanced coverage of the whole issue.

    Unlike others you can see them telling us about people who have been discharged also!!

    I have been telling all my friends that though it is good to be safe & cautious but there is no need to panic!

    Anyways take care girl 🙂

  5. 6 Steve August 13, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    What do you mean that they have manufactured the virus?

    I was told by those retards at CDC that it was impossible to do so. We simply don’t have the computational complexity or the inclination to design a virus from scratch. Sure, the US, good ole’ mother russia, al-qaeda and we try our best to come out with new lethal strains, but it is quite difficult to make a biological weapon as most of the times we simply don’t know what we are talking about. Yes, even those PHDs draped in white coats with a no good I.Q. of 160 don’t know what they’re talking about. As, boy are we in uncharted territory.

    Further, if they somehow got the know how to do so (I’ll kill Eric Schmidt if this is true). Then, I have a funny feeling that they failed. Unlike the Spanish flu people aren’t simply dropping dead whenever they sneeze.

    How disappointing.

    If I was in charge then certain people would be committing ritualistic mass suicide in white by now.

    Don’t you hate those McKinsey consultants?

    Oh and my doctors tell me that simple measure just work like our products. We are thinking about taking nature to court over this. Anyway, despite what others may lead you to believe they just work. Why? Because they do, you see? And you pretty much have no option but to adopt them, except for hiding in a cave with shiny new Macbook Pros, waiting for the world to end while playing donkey kong. Trust me, we tried.

    First of all, putting something across your mouth to protect yourself won’t work at all. Air borne virii travel on small droplets that can penetrate whatever you throw at them. However, the sick must wear them as when they sneeze larger drops come out which can be blocked before they disperse. So, drop the silly mask it doesn’t work. If you want proof then look at the SARS outbreak. It didn’t save a single life anywhere, rather it gave people a weird sense of complacency which is even more dangerous. So, no masks.

    Second, buy an Alcohol based hand sanitizer, don’t look at the anti-bacterial nonsense just see the Alcohol part and how much it has. Alternatively, for just in case scenarios you can use a deoderant to sanitze your hand. I am stressing on Alcohol as it is an organic solvent and it is essentially capable of dissolving the pesky virus itself. Sanitize your hands as if your life depended on it (it does) every hour or so and, especially, before eating.

    Third, become a vegan like me. Don’t eat, or drink anything in the wild, dirty, non-shiny outdoors until it has had minimal human contact. This ensures that you simply don’t injest the virus itself thanks to a gracious chef. It does take the fun out of being alive, but hey you get to live longer don’t you. Trust El-Jobso on this.

    Lastly, pray to the almight El-Jobso.

    I guess that just about covers the swine flu hooey booey. Doesn’t it?

    Oh and do us at the valley a favor. Don’t go around trying to get Tamiflu, it is severely depleting our capabilities to hoard it for us mighty mortals. After all imagine what would happen if I died. Imagine a world without Apple Keynotes, a world without a shiny, aluminium iLife, a world in which the iSlaves would actually start thinking again…

    Horrible, isn’t it?

    So, lets not do that.

  6. 7 Vee August 14, 2009 at 12:26 am

    I m seriously bored of reading/discussing on this.

    Btw, u have been tagged.. Tag is the only thing I like writing on nowadays.. Last two posts are just tag..


  7. 8 Chittaranjan August 14, 2009 at 12:37 am

    Well, even in Hyderabad many gals wear headscarves and even shoulder-length gloves (mebbe as a sunscreen) with shades as well…makes them look like dreaded gangstas 😐

    Prevention is better than cure and its better that people are at least getting aware of the hazards and doing whatever is best to avoid it. Wish the same could be said abt the administrators and pwers-that-be!

    And hey, I thought it was common decorum to refer to it as H1N1 instead of *hush* swine flu…

    Aahchoo! 😯

  8. 9 Indian Homemaker August 14, 2009 at 1:54 am

    This is a well written post on Swine Flu. I also find the head scarves that Pune girls’ wear very interesting 🙂 They are the only ones who will not need to bother with buying masks!

    It seems the virus will be in the air for two months (another News channel said two hours )- so there is no point in sitting at home. I feel some amount of covering is some protection – enough to get out perhaps, because after all how long can we stay at home?

  9. 10 Dev August 14, 2009 at 3:05 am

    Poonam, hope you are feeling better now. 🙂
    Thanks for putting together this important information.

  10. 11 Vimmuuu August 14, 2009 at 3:53 am

    LOL, I second Vee !!! My office and personal mail inbox are clogged with mails on swines !! 😀 😀

    • 12 Poonam August 15, 2009 at 12:39 am

      @Vimuu, Vee: You have not been reading the piece well, though I don’t blame you it IS too long. I acknowledged that too much has already been written about it, yet it is hard to ignore when every second of your day is being unnecessarily being threatened by swine flu scare. 😦

  11. 13 Liju Philip August 14, 2009 at 5:43 am

    they will cover their faces with dupatta but will never wear a helmet. Hmph….

    Is pollution in Pune so bad? A colleague of mine while working in India came from Pune to Hyd and also used to cover his face with a hankie while travelling.

  12. 14 Sunny August 14, 2009 at 6:52 am

    Awareness is key!

    Precaution is better than cure.

    Lets see if Mexican pattern will work or not!

  13. 15 Ava August 14, 2009 at 8:01 am

    It is scary. Angad had a bit of cold just before the swine flu scare hit us. If it had been later, I would have been distraught.

    BTW the girls in Chandigarh also wrap themselves up similarly, except they even wear shirts to cover their arms. And i tell you, riding about on scooter does tan/pollute your skin. I dont cover up much, n my complexion is going for a six.

  14. 16 Solilo August 14, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Poonam, take care. Keep healthy!

    Happy Independence Day!

  15. 17 Anshul August 14, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    I think you know the billing rate for using my comic. You better pay up.

  16. 19 lostworld August 14, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    I see the swine flu awareness is now spreading to blog pages as well 😉
    interesting links there.. thanks!

  17. 20 25BAR August 14, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    do you like the manner in which the media have dealt with this?

  18. 21 B K CHOWLA August 14, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Thank you for sharing info.Frankly,a lot is being written about this subject that has lost the FLAVOUR.Once ths media takes over a subject,they ensure the topic is fresh till they get another topic

  19. 22 Hypermom August 16, 2009 at 12:53 am

    I am one of the Paranoid ones-I do hope the flu dies out soon.
    Do take care!(yeah I know I am not supposed to panic)

  20. 23 Nita August 16, 2009 at 10:28 am

    There is far too much hype about swine flu and yeah me too getting lots of mails regarding this. Swine flu is a flu and not dangerous. It is likely that you have already picked up the virus Poonam and are now cured even though you don’t even know it! 😀 !!

  21. 24 Destination Infinity August 16, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Actually swineflu is not so dangerous as five minute exposure to TV channels!! I initially thought Tamiflu was another type of flu – I was right!

    Destination Infinity

  22. 25 Anu August 16, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    I recently wrote a post on this !! 🙂
    It’s surely curable, and nice that people are taking precautions, but sometimes I think many are hyping it unnecessarily..
    Do take care and nice blog! 🙂

  23. 26 Amrit August 16, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    Hey..please take care of yourself Poonam.

    Tha lab allegation story set me thinking. But its quite possbile 😦

    And yes..all the females in pune use that scarf..or rather stole as they call it. Infact any female friend of mine who used to ride with me..used to do that. When it comes to pollution..pune is not behind 🙂

    Once again…take care lady.

  24. 27 Alice August 17, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    I think the whole issue has been blown out of proportion and we as responsible Indians should know the same and take a stand against these media houses….because ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!

  25. 28 Harsh August 18, 2009 at 2:28 am

    Oh no I am sneezing … 😦

    let me check my nails …. sigh .. they are not blue … infact they are of their same usual dull color with something white suspended within ( which could be safely attributed to lack of calcium rather than excess of piggy things ) … lol 😛

    the whole situation , I believe , is hyped beyond a certain limit !!! everyone is panicking even if someone sneezes in the proximity … jeez …

  26. 29 museditions August 18, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Those are amazing photos! And we live in amazing times, don’t we? I didn’t know until you mentioned it that Pune was the center of the epidemic. I send all of you there my good thoughts!

  27. 30 Reema August 18, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    nice informative post. Its not just Pune girls…girls over here including me cover our faces while driving. I learnt to do so in Bhopal.

  28. 32 xylene August 18, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    TOI is selling N95 masks at 270Rs each. They print the number of deaths on front page and sell mask on last page.
    hmm !

  29. 33 amreekandesi August 18, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    But the good thing is that it has become so easy to get leave from office…just go in to work coughing violently and the boss will come up to you and ask you to take rest at home!

  30. 34 Surender Sharma August 18, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    This is not a major disease but Media is spreading the misconceptions in the public.
    What do you think?

  31. 35 hitchwriter August 19, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    I hope the swines take a breather now.. tooo many emails about them too many news about them.. !! phew…

    Indore is totally safe !!!!!!

  32. 36 Kiran August 23, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Take care dear! In fact, every one here is to take precaution and don’t doubt this epidemic even a gist. It’s spreading violently, even in Malaysia!!! Sigh!!!

    • 37 Poonam Sharma August 23, 2009 at 12:24 pm

      Yeah, Kiran, thanks, I am taking care. I don’t know if they work. But I have a Vitamin C, cloves, milk with turmeric, black paper and an alcohol based hand sanitiser. Hope swine flu goes away soon.

  33. 38 Ashwin Baindur August 24, 2009 at 1:37 pm


    The swine flu affects the social divide in Pune.

    One day, I found my aunt involved in a furious tirade with a servant who incutiously mentioned that it was a ‘well-to-do’ persons disease brought to India by such people.

    In another case, a subordinate staff in our office asked for leave to tend to her feverish child but hastik=ly interjected that its not ‘sawain phulu’.

  34. 39 Aridhi October 18, 2009 at 1:21 am

    How’s the swine flu scare scene in Pune now? It seems to have slipped out of daily conversation in many parts of the world, and in Delhi too, at least in my circles. I myself have been coughing, sneezing and surviving on paracetamol for most of this week but to my own surprise not a single person has shot me a frightened look or asked me if I’ve been tested for swine flu.

    And I’m all better now, so it’s ok. 🙂

    • 40 Poonam October 18, 2009 at 11:46 am

      Swine flu is still here, even if it has disappeared from daily conversations. Everyday daily 2-4 deaths are reported in newspapers of Pune.

      All folks I know are going about their lives as usual but with sanitizers, eucalyptus oil and specific ingredients like cloves, black pepper in food.

      Glad you are better now. 🙂

  35. 41 Aridhi October 19, 2009 at 12:35 am

    You’re teaching me a lot today! 🙂 I didn’t know that cloves and black pepper in food had an effect of fighting/preventing swine flu 🙂 that’s good to know.

    It is sad that the sickness isn’t going away though.

    What’s the general Pune response to the idea of a swine flu prevention vaccine? Does it look like many people are eager to get it when it comes or is there a greater fear that the vaccine will make them sick? I have a good friend in Melbourne who is very skeptical about the vaccine and I guess from what I hear it’s strong opinions either for or against the vaccine, directly proportional to personal paranoia of getting infected…

    • 42 Poonam Sharma October 22, 2009 at 10:52 pm

      Sometimes it is rightly said that media sets the agenda. Now that swine flu is not really being talked about in news, people have pushed it to back burner. As for me, I hope that by the time the vaccine arrives, the flu virus has not mutated again. Every time it mutates, it causes enough harm and that will also render the vaccine worthless.

      And add eucalyptus oil (just 2-3 drops are sufficient) to the list of cloves and black pepper. 🙂 At one point of time, there was so much scare of swine flu in Pune that every one was doling out these things to another. Glad at least we are not living in fear but no harm being vigilant and cautious.

  36. 43 best hand sanitizer December 4, 2011 at 6:27 am

    I do agree with all of the ideas you have presented in your post. They are really convincing and will certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are too quick for starters. May you please lengthen them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

  37. 44 can i sell t shirts on amazon April 29, 2015 at 12:28 am

    Maybe you tried printing your own shirts in the past and quickly discovered it wasn’t
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  38. 45 casestudyhelp June 12, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    Hmm, Swine Flu is very bad..Keep away from it..
    My assignment help

  1. 1 62nd Independence Day Celebrations in JNU Campus: A Photo Essay and Report « EMOTIONALLY SPEAKING… Trackback on August 15, 2009 at 12:55 pm

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