First we saw the country reduced to panic amidst the 'swine flu epidemic'. Now fears of the norovirus start to creep inside our homes. Is it any wonder that more and more of us are making frequent visits to the GP and indulging in yet more prescription drugs? As we lose our sanity and our pay checks with the growing price of a chemist visit, the drug companies do much the opposite. With the sheer amount of taxpayers' money being passed onto the drug companies, they are still unable to provide life saving new drugs for fatal conditions such as cancer at an affordable price.

The British public first saw outbreaks of bird flu terrify young and old. Everyone taking to carrying handkerchiefs and avoiding sitting down on the tube. Then, much like the influenza virus, the panic mutated. As swine flu grunted its way into our lives, it was no longer the handkerchief but the portable bottle of hand gel, the swine flu hotline, and various forms of immunisation available for purchase to those who didn't really need it but were so scared at the thought of dying. They rushed to their local dispensaries to hand over their hard earned money.

At the end of the day flu is flu. Flu in its own right is more than capable of killing those with 'underlying health problems'. Especially when the influenza evolves into pneumonia. Then again so is any condition. If a person has a heart condition and god forbid needs a transplant something as simple as the common cold can easily defeat their immune systems. Just as those with AIDS tend to be ill all the time, the fact is it is not the actual AIDS that is leading to the continuing side effects but the breakdown of the immune system that makes you more susceptible to any and all nasties flying through the air. GERMS! The fact is they are everywhere, at the risk of causing an international scare-fest if you were to put your hand underneath a microscope and take a look at your body's largest organ (skin) you will see millions of bacteria crawling over you.

If you are in the most vulnerable groups, the elderly, the very young, those with heart conditions or diabetes then you have to be slightly more careful. If you are not sure whether you fit into the at risk categories then you've no need to worry, your doctor will soon let you know if there are any additional treatments you should be receiving. Whatever you do don't go spending your hard earned dosh for an injection that you do not really need.

The price of the prescription is rising steadily alongside that of personal, company and national debt. But the pharmaceutical companies have no fear in that department. People get ill, at the end of the day there are many of us taking medication for the rest of our lives. However, not satisfied with this, 'experts' via the media cause shock outbreak scares to cheat you out of yet more money!

And so the price of living continues to rise. With barely enough in our wage packets to get us through the week we dread getting ill. Surprisingly enough the only people amongst us that are safe are, you guessed it guys! Those receiving benefits, even then not all benefits entitle you to receive free medication. Whatever way you obtain your much needed tablets someone pays somewhere for the privilege of people staying alive.

Now we must beware, the Norovirus is amongst us all! The common winter bug that leads to vomiting is apparently topping the viral charts on this year's top of the pox! With a massive 7,300 confirmed cases in March, this is twice that of the third month in 2009. Although for some reason we seem to think that all these infected people are sitting in our local shopping centre at the same time swapping sick notes. Oh no friends this is not the case! If we just try and avoid the French kissing of the flu ridden then we shouldn't really have to worry, and I'm sure I don't have to go to the trouble of reminding you to wash your hands after visiting the water closet etc etc etc. The battles of yesteryear were mainly won due to overcoming the lack of simple hygiene causing dysentery and other nasty things.

In the times newspaper they have provided vital information about the causes of the norovirus 'Part of the increase could be due to better reporting. Experts suggested that the particularly long and cold winter may also have contributed.' Well I ask you whether that is not within your in built encyclopaedia of common sense. It seems as though we are becoming more and more suited to the European Union membership every day. Health and safety, that's a good one, whilst training as a chef I nearly made my tutor pass out with laughter questioning why we have to; wear fresh whites in the kitchen or why it is we use different chopping boards for fresh and cooked meat.

OK I shall stop the waffle now (thank god …I hear you scream?), the plain and simple fact of the matter is as follows….

  1. The norovirus is real.
  2. Various mutations of influenza exist.
  3. Any virus will have worse effect if met with a weak immune system.
  4. There are no crowds of flu carrying people waiting to pounce outside your door.
  5. If you do not practice good hygiene you are likely to get ill.
  6. Lastly, there is no need for the barricades of air purifiers, protective bubbles and will making services as THE BLACK DEATH AND PLAGUE ARE NOT AMONG US!!!

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