OK, OK, let’s just suspend reality for a while. Let’s spend a few minutes basking in the insane, frantic bedlam that is projected upon us by our news media. Well, no, I won’t force you. You may have far better things to be getting on with. But, hey, it was late evening and I had a nice fire in the living room and all I could find to watch was BBC2’s “Winter Viruses and How to Beat Them”:
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. The compare, Dr Alice, talks constantly with an inane smile across her face. Like a banner smile, like a “My that was so funny wasn’t it?” smile, like a once-in-a-daytime sort of a smile. But she, as in classic inhabitants of Victorian Asylums (asyla?) bore it – probably still bears it – all the time. “And so hundreds die of this condition” she’ll say, broad grin, and “we really don’t know where the next outbreak will be”, hearty smile, and “it may well kill you very soon”, hysterical laughter. You get the picture.
And there were lots of experts in bacteriology and virology and epidemiology and you-scatch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours-ology, too.
So the viralexpertiants detect two sorts of winter-flu virus. They look alike but they know they’re different and so they call them Type A and, you guessed, Type B. Turns out, like as not, that Type B goes for us Northern sorts – from Baccup or Guiseley or Rochdale . This is both good and bad. It’s bad cos you got t’flu but it’s good cos it’s not as bad as wat they get down South. That’s yer Type A.
Now Type A is far nastier, largely for two reasons or maybe three. Firstoff it must be worse because it infects Southerners who, everybody knows, are for more important people. Secondly, though, Type A comes direct from the birds in their droppings and we’ve not had a chance to grow accustomed to it yet. It’s really not at all fair – why can’t they try out their new strains on those Northerners. Oh yes and the thirdly. Well, because these Type As are new we haven’t had time yet to concoct what we call a vaccine to, how we say, “combat” it yet.
And then we spend a year building up supplies of these vaccines and the damn virus bloody well mutates and we’re back to square one.
Well what we do is squirt these vaccines into people anyway – because last year’s blighters just might come back and at the same time we try to predict what next year’s headliner Type A virus is going to be. Then we make a vaccine against that virus and, if that one doesn’t arrive, well we squirt that vaccine into people, anyway – because it just might turn up one day. (And we’ve got to make our profits, I mean cover our costs, somehow).
It’s all so mad, as I say, it’s frantic and full of folk totally committed to the fictions both of the nature of infection and to the supposed mechanism to avoid the problem. They all talk with religious fervour and with the harassed, twitchy countenance of military commanders. This is war and “we will defeat these terrorist virus” who “are so well prepared and cunning in the way they work to bring us down”.
I was unwell over Christmas – still not brilliant, six weeks later. I called it Flu-ish and the GP agreed. But it had been a very stressful couple of months in my personal life, the weather was foul and days dark, let alone the nights. My diet had remained good but, at Christmas, I ate a lot of chocolate after which a sharp headache developed, followed by my flu. I have had no chocolate since!
My point is that flu is not necessarily caused, it is maybe more appropriate to say it is allowed by our bodies. Like the breaking of a damn, maybe, and, at that point, our physiological defences are bypassed and viral or bacterial hijack can occur. They are not malevolent, merely housekeeping themselves and, indeed, acting as indicators to ourselves that change, regrouping and re-alignment would be beneficial.
Like “No more Chocolate”. Woe is me!