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Paranoia and the Aporkalypse

May 1, 2009

From the Washington Post, a story about how the legitimate fear of the swine flu exists alongside a growing and outsized paranoia about the illness:

Amid fears of an approaching aporkalypse, the most contagious disease this week — at least for a small, hyper-aware portion of the population — was paranoia. It struck locations such as Union Station’s Tschiffely Pharmacy, where containers of hand sanitizer were moved from the back shelf to the front cash register. Travel-size bottles sold out yesterday; the store was also doing brisk business in hospital masks…

It’s so easy to contract paranoia. It just takes one errant glance at a headline before you begin thinking, Has co-worker Bob always had allergies? He says it’s allergies, but . . . didn’t he honeymoon in Mexico? Why is he HERE, breathing all over the place?! I hate Bob.
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We are being ridiculous. We know we are being ridiculous. We cannot stop being ridiculous.

But with each new reported case of the flu, an old germaphobe is validated, and a new one is born.

“I went and looked up my symptoms about an hour ago,” says Matthew Baldwin, a Seattle programmer. “I knew I was a little hung over, and I also had had a cold with a persistent cough.” He wanted “to lay all my symptoms out on the table and see if there were any left unaccounted for.” Symptoms that might belong . . . to swine flu.

After careful evaluation, Baldwin determined that he was not sick, and felt a little sheepish that he’d even bothered to worry.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. john permalink
    May 1, 2009 9:48 am

    The Media is loving it nothing sells better than fear.

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