Friday, October 23

A little too close to home

Okay, so Japan has been very concerned about the swine flu since the beginning. Last spring when it was spreading, schools were closed, foreigners were dissuaded from visiting, entire communities tested for the virus. On our island, the stores posted signs in their windows telling customers that they were sold out of masks. It turns out that people on the island were buying up the masks and sending them to their loved ones living in the dangerous confines of the cities were masks had long been scarce. Recently, as you can see from the video above, there has been a push for more hand washing. Every store in the city when we were there last had dispensers of alcohol solution on tables next to the exits. At school, they go around with a giant spray bottle before lunch and every large gathering, having the kids hold their hands behind them as they spray the same solution on the small palms and fingers.
And yet still it spreads. Right into Sebastian's class. One boy was admitted into the hospital today for flu-like symptoms. This afternoon, the principal was informed that it is indeed the H1N1 influenza. The sweet potato pulling event for tomorrow has been canceled and I expect that they will be considering what else they must cancel. Perhaps regular classes. They close schools in areas where there are no cases so I would be surprised if the school remains open.
As a pregnant woman, I am now forced to wear my mask everywhere. But if his school closes, I might not be able to go anywhere. Today, many concerned older ladies told me that I shouldn't be out. We might all be here, in our home, driving each other batty. You never realize how much being outside of your house matters until you are forced to stay indoors. I know it is for the best but I can't help but resent having to do so.
But it is like I told Sebastian when he was feeling low about the canceled event for tomorrow (they called about an hour ago to tell us): we should consider how his classmate feels, sick and stuck in a hospital bed. The classmate is one that Sebastian always plays with too, and was playing with just two days ago. He's a tough little guy though so I am sure he'll be okay. But we are all worried.
I tend to take these outbreaks a little too lightly but now that I am so vulnerable and Nico with his little self and Sebastian and Jason in constant exposure to such things, I am feeling rather shaken by this news. It is definitely too close to home.


kayla said...

Do you remember Kay at the ELP? Her 4-year-old granddaughter had H1N1, but, thankfully, recovered quickly. It's everywhere here. When you're pregnant, you don't want to take any chances, but are there still places you can go to get fresh air with minimal people contact?

Anonymous said...

We have been very vigilant at our school since last school year's outbreak. Most kids even have their own sanitizers at their desk. Custodians are wiping down door handles VERY regulary and mouse and keyboards are now being sanitized daily. We have had about 10 confirmed cases at the school but anyone who has flulike symptoms are being directed to stay out for a week to not infect others. Tomorrow is the massive flu mist at the school where the students whose parents request it will be given the nasal vaccination. About 90% of the students will be taking part in this marathon mist. Of course, our pregnant teachers are being asked to stay away since their will be a live virus airborne. Hopefully this will stop any student from getting seriously ill this flu season. I know you want fresh air but you are in the high at-risk catergory and have to take care of my little sister and my niece. Long distant hugs to all. Liz