Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Swine Flu: Stand By To Panic

Local businesses are devoting time and effort on plans to deal with widespread absences if the Swine Flu hits hard. Just yesterday we learned the State Department of Public Instruction is asking local school districts to move up their timetable for administering key progress exams, before the Swine Flu hits in full force. And a handful of no-doubt well-intentioned but mislead moms will not let their kids get the Swine Flu shot, fearing the vaccine is linked to a severe nerve disease.

Mother Nature really knows how to throw a party.

A fascinating article in the online edition of In Business magazine has some dandy pointers for Dane County business owners who may face some thorny problems, if the Swine Flu hits their workforce. One expert the magazine talked to, pointed out that while employers have a right to send a sick employee home and request they don’t come back till the sickness passes….it’s quite another thing to deal with all the state’s wage-and-hour rules.

And there’s that wonderful little thing called HIPPA: as the In Business article says, you can’t share an employee’s health information with anyone else. According to the HIPPA rules, you can’t tell anybody that Joe in maintenance is out with the Swine Flu.

Isn’t that special!

Businesses have to take this stuff seriously. Within the last few weeks lawsuits have been filed against cruise line companies by passengers who got sick on their ships. Of course, filing the suit is one thing…proving you got it onboard is another.

Madison schools are taking the DPI’s party line seriously - they’re moving standardized academic tests up several weeks, just in case the Swine Flu starts marching through classrooms. Officially, the tests are supposed to be given starting October 26th, but Madison may start the testing as soon as next week.

Facebook, even here in Madison, has been dotted with posts from moms who now won’t let their kids get the Swine Flu vaccination. This apparently all started with an article in Mothering magazine, citing an item from Dr. Joseph Mercola, who claims secret, unreleased information in Britain shows a connection between Swine Flu Vaccine and Severe Nerve Disease. Dr. Mercola, who never met a vaccine he liked, is outraged that the mainstream media won’t pick up the secret story.

Wonder why. Could it be that the mainstream media is actually showing some restraint here? Usually a story like this would be the lead on network and cable newscasts for at least a day.

Whether or not the Swine Flu hits as hard as some of the public health experts have predicted, the H1N1 virus has already brewed up a witch’s cauldron of controversy and angst.

1 comment:

  1. Dr. Mercola is an osteopath and, more to the point, a medical contrarian with a knack for marketing. He says microwave ovens are dangerous because they alter the chemistry of food. He sells convection ovens as a sideline.

    He doesn't like homogenization or fluoride in water either, but is OK with you scarfing coconut oil. He's also into sunbathing and has issued a defense of the law of gravity. As for the healing process, the former Roman Catholic turned evangelical Christian extols religion and prayer and "...the God-given recuperative powers of your body."

    Columnist David Gumpert of BusinessWeek dismisses Mercola as a descendant of the 19th century snake oil salesmen. Whatever he is, he does seem to pass the duck test.

    His kind can be dangerous. I once knew a family who succumbed to Mercola-style fear-mongering and decided they did not "believe" in vaccinations. Their faith was rewarded in the 1950s when their unvaccinated son was the only kid on the block to get polio.

    More about the good doctor can be found here ...