The media are falling over themselves regarding swine flu. There are plenty of stories scaring us all into thinking that there are going to be tens of thousands of deaths attributed to the disease this coming winter, and it’s difficult to sort the facts from the fiction.
I worry about my pregnant wife. She’s obviously at a higher risk than most from this but she’s also asthmatic, making any infection more dangerous.
Luckily for me I follow Annabel Bentley on Twitter. She posted a link to one of her blog posts on just this subject. Some parts of the medical establishment seem to think that pregnant women should just stay at home and watch TV rather than mix with the infected hordes, or either wear a facemask.
My wife, a nurse of significant standard, has told me no end of times that these masks are a complete waste of time. Once your breathe on them they get wet, thus allowing whatever bacteria or virus you’re trying to avoid to enter into your lungs virtually unimpeded.
Annabel gives some very sensible advice:
The bottom line is that hand and respiratory hygiene measures are the best ways to reduce the risk of H1N1 flu in pregnancy. The conflicting messages about masks and staying at home dilute the key messages to everyone about hand washing, sneezing and disposing of tissues. So, perhaps when leaving the house, pregnant women would be better advised to take some soap or alcohol hand gel with them, rather than a facemask, and use it to clean their hands regularly.
This is something that the government, to their credit, have been saying all along. It’s just a shame that the message has been lost amongst a whole bunch of scaremongering by people that should really know better