Kelley Hungerford – Assistant editor.I’ve decided to host a piggy party, and everyone at Linfield is invited. Apple-stuffed pork, honey-glazed ham, thick-cut bacon and gelatin products will be served. There will be a contest for best pig costume. Guests are encouraged to get creative — outfits such as Piglet, Porky Pig or Eric Cartman have a better chance of winning than your everyday porker.
Oh, I forgot. The guest of honor: a person infected with swine flu.
OK, so there is no party, at least not at my place. According to an MSN article by Amanda Gardner, however, some parents are purposely exposing their children to those who have contracted swine flu. The events are dubbed “swine flu parties.”
The article, titled “Swine Flu Parties? Send your regrets, experts say,” speculates that parents’ rationale perhaps lies in the idea that providing exposure while the H1N1 virus is relatively mild, is better than enduring the supposedly mysterious H1N1 vaccine side effects.
What century are we living in? Are these parents aware of the concentration of exposure that vaccines offer compared with actual viruses? Vaccines contain small amounts of an agent to coerce the body into a seek-and-destroy mission. But it’s just a tiny amount; exposure to more would just result in the flu. It’s not as if our bodies are individual MacGyvers that can make H1N1 machine guns out of white blood cells and interferons to combat a full exposure.
And, the article says, redness and swelling around the injection site are the only documented side effects of the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I think I’d rather suffer from upper-arm soreness than be confined to a bed, hacking up my lungs.
So what are these parents thinking? Parents of teenagers are not tossing their kids into giant orgies because sexual exposure now results in milder cases of AIDS. I’m imagining scenes from “The Masque of the Red Death,” here! (Just substitute a pig snout for the skull mask.)
“Any time you willingly subject your children to an infectious disease, you run the risk of all sorts of complications,” Dr. Tamara Kuittinen says in the article. “It may be dangerous.”
Thanks, Doc K. I didn’t know.
But apparently people really don’t know. Somehow it has become necessary to quote the obvious in the news. I understand the expanding information gap and digital divide, but this has gone beyond a lack of access to information. This enters right into my favorite subject: stupidity.
I don’t know whether anyone reading this has actually considered attending a swine flu party, but let me say this: Please don’t. Be above the piggy influence. Don’t be mustering the troops for piggy powwows through Campbell. You’re just going to close more residence halls.