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LAF Loves Bacon (And Why You Should Too)

April 29, 2009

Note to Readers: LAF is not a licensed medical professional, nor should she be. She is perfectly happy being a rockstar PR professional. If you feel sick, please see a doctor. That is all.

babeSwine Flu. It’s hit every media outlet and social media network across the nation. In Texas, where I live, after school sports are being cancelled. There was a confirmed death. People are panicking left and right.

STOP. IT. NOW. Bacon is your friend. As are most meats.

Thousands are dying daily from cancer. Why aren’t we holding press conferences and discussing it at length? It’s still a big deal. For those that are very close to me, you know why this issue hits close to home.

Remember mad cow disease? Most of you still eat the moo moo cow. Chill. Swine Flu, based off of what I read, is another strain of the flu that our vaccine does not cover. If you start feeling sick, see a doctor so that they can treat you. Here in the U.S., we have much more advanced healthcare than places such as Mexico. Our resources are extensive and this can be prevented. Guess what? Many die from the regular flu year after year. There is no mass panic. 

So, why do you think it has gotten so crazy?

Media and citizen journalism. It’s a huge game of Telephone. Remember how the story would get wilder and crazier as it went on? Emotions would run higher? The end result was so elaborate, but you trusted the friend that told you. 

The media can sometimes play off of fear. Citizens see that fear and start posting updates, or tweeting, or e-mailing loved ones to make sure they are taking preventive measures. Concerned parents take their kids out of school. It’s a domino effect. Once you light the fuse, it’s hard to put it out. Panic is the domino effect. Do you not know what citizen journalism is? Check out a great post by Chris Ortiz on Stuff Journalists Like about what it is and how it can benefit society and newspapers as a whole here.

I’m a big fan of citizen journalism, don’t get me wrong. But just like regular media, make sure you have the facts straight before you freak out. Citizen journalism is great for the newspaper that is understaffed and might not catch the story right as it breaks. Whip out a camera phone and jot down what you see, and you can help the media out in a big way. But if you post said picture with a hysterical caption, Chicken Little: OH MY GOSH THE WORLD IS GOING TO END!!! Then guess what – 20 people will believe you, who will then tell 20 of their friends, and before you know it, 1,000 people are freaking out.

Swine flu deaths are tragic, just like any death is. Knowledge and Education are key. Staying calm is key. Take preventive measures and realize what a great country we live in – and be thankful that our HC system is as advanced as it is.

I applaud Texas schools in the N. Texas area who cancelled after school activities until May 11. This is a good move to calm parents and maybe subside some of the panic. It will also give them time to educate parents on basic vaccines and general information.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. April 30, 2009 12:57 am

    Bravo LAF. I don’t think I’ve read anything better this week.

  2. April 30, 2009 1:05 am

    As Chief Bacon Maker over at Bacon Marketing, we applaud your post. More importantly, I grew up on a commercial pig farm with 10,000 pigs. Sadly, I use to have breakfasts with Ham, Sausage, and Bacon. Sure I will be paying for that later.

    Best Bacon joints:
    1. Ann Arbor, MI – The Fleetwood. If you are looking for your digs in Ann Arbor, Checkout the Fleetwood. My buddy Francis and Adam can attest. Best food ever.

    2. Plano, TX – The Original Pancake house. They have the best bacon on the planet. I think it’s half an inch thick. Well worth the weight.

    Anyways, love the post. Back to making bacon for my customers and clients.

    @mikedmerrill

  3. April 30, 2009 1:39 am

    What a wonderful post Lauren. You have summarized the problem and the solution. I only hope those fueling the flames will read this. Thank you for putting stuff so succinctly.

    Now I’m off to cook bacon for dinner…and enjoy it.

    Mary

  4. April 30, 2009 2:58 am

    As a public school district employee, I can speak on how difficult it is to have to weigh so many competing options in order to make tough decisions that impact district communities. You are right, knowledge and education are key.

    And, BTW – According to U.S. government agencies and a Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) fact sheet, swine flu cannot be transmitted through food, including pork. Customers can be assured that they will not contract swine flu by eating pork products.

    There is no evidence of swine flu being transmitted through food, including pork (raw or cooked), raw vegetables, juice or other foods.

    Not a pig problem, it’s a human hygiene issue.

    • April 30, 2009 3:16 am

      Richie – What a great response. I can’t even imagine the process that must occur before a district can be closed down. I didn’t know all of that about swine flu – and I think it makes a great case in point about citizen journalism and how inaccurate information can spread quickly.

      Good luck in the coming days!

  5. @isishargrave permalink
    April 30, 2009 3:00 am

    Do you applaud school districts who have closed their schools until May 8th? That’s 80,000 students! I think that’s a bit much for something that is not that serious….

    • April 30, 2009 3:03 am

      I applaud them for taking a quick response to parental concern. It might be over the top, but as Richie said, it is difficult to weigh all options.

  6. April 30, 2009 3:06 am

    So true. Normally I’d add a somewhat humorous remark to add to your wonderfully funny and insightful post. Unfortunately, I’m floored and saddened by Egypt’s uneducated decision to slaughter 300k pigs in fear. 😦

  7. Stephanie permalink
    April 30, 2009 3:23 am

    I couldn’t agree more. I was not about to jump on board with this latest media craze, and I am a relatively obsessive worrier. You stressed my exact points about regular flu killing many people every year, and I further support your move to focus on a more pertinent issue, such as cancer. Of course swine flu is serious, WHO has raised the alert from a 4 to a 5, but, again as you’ve already stated, our medical professionals are advanced enough to treat it if you so happen to get it.
    I am glad you wrote this, I concur.

  8. April 30, 2009 1:23 pm

    I’m in agreement with you totally. Stop freaking out, people! Sometimes the wisdom of crowds isn’t so wise.

    However, I will say that this is potentially a huge opportunity for the CDC and other health organizations to engage with people and hopefully keep them engaged after this threat has passed. Something like 6,000 people signed up yesterday alone to follow the @CDCemergency Twitter account. Let’s hope that they harness some of the public health interest that swine flu (ahem, sorry, “H1N1”) has drummed up and find ways to use new social tools to reach out to people.

  9. April 30, 2009 1:42 pm

    Lets not forget SARS – the disease that shut down the vast majority of Asia for months. Citizen journalism and rampaging media outlets are very dangerous things.

    With that said, I DO agree with the school districts that chose to close as a precaution, especially those in South Texas. Those that have died tend to be young and/or weak. Can’t be too careful with the kids!

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