AH1N1 virus pandemic: days of paranaoia

At 42, I am at high risk for the AH1N1 virus. Yes, I am being paranoid, and I have my own reasons.

The influenza virus can jump from one person to the next as easily as a basketball passes from one player to another (we’re watching game 4 of the NBA western conference finals between LA and Denver as I write this). It only takes a cough, a sneeze, a touch, an accidental brush of the skin, or even a stray saliva (talsik ng laway, o ayan…) for one to spread the virus. This virus is in the air, and in as much as I want to dodge it everytime I walk, say, along the long and busy stretch of Ayala Avenue, there is no escaping this killer virus. (That’s a weird image — me bobbing and weaving as I walk toward McDo…)

Anyway…you get the picture. So, yeah, I get the shivers just thinking of the times when I would commute on my coding days. Here’s why:

Dreaming on our way to work: the virus never sleeps, people!
Dreaming on our way to work: the virus never sleeps, people!

Me and my friendly neighborhood commuters travel from Bacoor to Makati and back, shoulder to shoulder, thigh to thigh, knee to knee, arm to arm (since I’m small, sometimes it’s arm to armpit). Our faces are only about a foot apart, so yeah, we practically fight for a limited share of oxygen. And then when we pay for our fare, the dirty bills and coins transfer from one person to another, along with all the germs, bacteria, and viruses on it. If you’re seated in front, you have the misfortune of getting everybody’s dirt, grime, and heaven-knows-what-living-microorganism as you take all their money and hand it to the driver…the driver! The poor, poor driver who is the recipient of all the germs!

So…anyone care to join my paranoia? Okay, so I’m exaggerating. Like I said, I’m paranoid about the whole thing. Hey, I even heard that a new strain is now being observed in Brazil. Bottomline is this: don’t rub your eyes, pick your nose, touch your mouth, scratch your ear canal as these are the entry points for the virus.

So please take care of yourselves, people. Always keep your hands clean. Bring hand sanitizer or alcohol disinfectant with you anywhere — and use it! If you have to sneeze or cough, keep the spray to yourself by covering up.

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