Thursday December 17, 2009
Make this holiday season a healthy (and boring) one
Just when you thought we were done with the doom and gloom of H1N1. Once again, David Butler Jones, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, is trying with Grinch-like zeal to take another run at the pandemic.
Here’s what the good doctor has to say:
“Shaking hands and sharing a hug and kiss with family and friends is a common practice around the holidays. Obviously, this is not going change – but be mindful of how germs and illnesses like the flu spread. Since you’ll be shaking hands and hugging frequently, try to wash your hands regularly throughout the evening and avoid touching your face.”
Gee, thanks. As I wish at happy thirteenth wedding anniversary to my beloved wife and lean in for a kiss, I’m supposed to be mindful of germs.
“Double dipping is when you dip something into a sauce (such as a potato chip or carrot stick into dip), take a bite from it and then dip it again. Double dipping is a quick way to spread infectious disease, such as H1N1, so avoid it. Also avoid sharing utensils with another person if they’ve been near your mouth and try to ensure that buffet tables are out of reach from children’s hands.”
That advice is funny when you’re talking about George Costanza. To me, the advice is both patronizing and kind of dumb. As a general rule, discouraging double dipping is okay. As a way of preventing H1N1, it’s silly. If no one who comes to the holiday party has H1N1, then avoiding the dreaded double dip won’t prevent swine flu. If you have H1N1, the last place you’ll feel like showing up is a holiday party. See what I mean?
“If you’re hosting guests over the holidays, make it easy for them to enjoy themselves and stay healthy by preparing your home. Have plenty of alcohol-based hand sanitizer, liquid soap (avoid bar soap) and disposable paper towels available for guests to wash their hands. A little preparation on your part can go a long way to keeping your family and friends healthy during the holidays, and at any time of year.”
Excuse me? Did he tell us to buy soap and disposable paper towels? Er, I guess I can spring for some.
“While socializing with family and friends, remember to avoid sharing glasses because when you share glasses, you also share germs. Try using items that distinguish glasses, such as drink charms, to make sure you can easily identify which glass is yours.”
If Butler-Jones had stopped at not sharing drinking glasses, I could have lived with it. Giving us tips on how to identify the drinking glass that contains my partially consumed beverage seems a tad condescending.
“Getting the H1N1 flu vaccine and the seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from both the H1N1 flu and the seasonal flu viruses. Protecting yourself by getting the vaccines might be the easiest way to enjoy the holiday season without worrying about catching or spreading the flu.”
Finally, the pitch to get the vaccine. I’m not going to touch this one. You decide if you want to get it now that the dreaded second wave of H1N1 is done like dinner. As for the third wave, do wake me when it’s over.
And have a happy holiday!
Previous Comments (4)
Takes one to know one. You are the king of condescension, unable to communicate, on the radio or on your website, without sounding like you're standing on a podium. Is the rumour true that you're off the air in January? Good riddance. Maybe CBC can find a new host for this show?chris c, December 18, 2009 2:13 PM
I want to thank you for your show today as it helped clarify how to tell if one is addicted to narcotics. I have ulcerative colitis and I have been living in chronic pain since 2005. It is only because of morphine that I am able to lead a mostly productive life. I take my pain medication as prescribed. I have 2 kinds of morphine - long-acting and short-acting for breakthrough pain. Most days I need a couple of doses of short-acting for the breakthrough pain. But there are days where I don't and I don't take any. I use my medication as prescribed. I never need it refilled early and I often have extra on hand. Thank you. I am quite confident that I am not addicted to my pain medication.Chris Thomas, December 18, 2009 6:09 PM
I too am bemused by these constant missives from Dr. Butler-Jones. My theory is that he has no choice but to attach his name to these multiple expensive ads. The government has millions of $$ invested in vaccine doses, and would love to reduce the stockpile and justify their unfortunate 'Chicken Little' scenario.Pat, December 19, 2009 3:10 PM
I have to say I have enjoyed your show having first stumbled upon it as a master's student at the UVic in the MPA program. At the time I was taking a policy analysis course and chose the topic of supply and demand for MDs - an ubiquitous HR problem for Governments. Your show provided me with tangible insight into different 'stakeholder' perspectives and allowed me to broaden my view on the topic. Although much of the literature depicted the problem from and economic analysis, what was missing from the picture was the field analysis from physicians, nurses, and patients. Ha! While it was a simulation policy analysis I conducted, it was insightful to have other experienced perspectives in mind while examining the issue.
I have continued to stay tuned to your program and am now in the final processes of defending. I was hoping that as the show developed along the trajectory of radio programming, that the scope of issues and perspectives that proved beneficial to my understanding of the the doctor shortage would as well. It would have been interesting to hear about rural and remote medicine in BC, the lack of maternity care in northern cities, the experience for remote patients living on reserve, the aboriginal nursing program, etc. etc. I am learning that there are many innovate and interesting strategies being applied. In Northern BC the NorthWord is a print media new publication that comes out with Dr. Tracy Morton providing medical insight into problems in tandem with other medical professionals. Again, missing from this insight is a third lens. It would be interesting to see the scope of your investigations breach into holistic medical treatments and efficiencies in medical practices as they are applied in northern communities and patient experiences of them.
My sister is a medical student and I had the fortune of accompanying her on her rural medical rotation in India. It was amazing to see the difference how medicine was approached by both physicians and patients. There was a strong emphasis placed on holistic approaches by both parties. Perhaps delving into such ideas in western medicine would broaden not only the White Coat but also the national understanding of alternative medicines over here.
Keep it up Goldman, enjoying the show.