Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Signs of the Times

At work recently, they've been putting in germ combating measures along with educational posters. It's nice to have sanitizer around, and a spray sanitizer for common keyboards and phones in conference rooms is also cool. The occasional poster saying "we're headed into flu season, here are the symptoms and here's what you can do to prevent transmission" are tolerable. But damn.

I went to get my morning caffeine. Posted above the hot drinks station are
  • 6 Flu Warning signs
  • 3 birth announcements
  • 1 lunch discount offer
  • 1 notice about the hot drinks supplies

I'm going to have to go with 6 is about 4 too many. A week or so ago, they put up a laminated card next to the soap dispenser listing the benefits of handwashing or some such. Then there was the reminder about flu shots. Monday's arrival was "here are the symptoms of flu". I don't mind that since it's harder to get that description than you'd think. Yesterday's, posted near all sinks, was "How to wash your hands". Um, ok. But seriously? Most of our employees spend most of their days wearing nitrile gloves and facemasks. Even if they never washed, it probably wouldn't come to anything. Today's new sign is "don't come to work if you're sick, fool". It's getting pretty comical.

I'm of mixed mind about the whole prep for the flu season. I am glad they provide flu shots free for employees and cheap for family members. I get the flu shots, figuring that cycling my immune system for something other than allergies is a good idea.

Communicable diseases are kind of hard to manage perception for. If you have a readily communicable disease that starts to swiftly and inexplicably kill off people in the cohort who normally survive minor bugs, it's bad, bad news. Yet if you manage to prevent the bug from spreading, people think they were worried for nothing because it's not ethical to deny prevention/treatment in a segment of the population just so you can say, "I told you so." And if M. Gladwell in "The Tipping Point" can be believed, it just takes a few extra people crowded together to go from "probably not going to amount to anything" to "epidemic". So maybe if people, even jokingly, wash their hands more thoroughly for a few weeks while mocking the signage, it will prevent reaching that tipping point. Who knows? But damn. SIX work instructions regarding flu is still pretty hilarious.


MarciaBC said...

Sounds like someone in your HR department has caught the "We're all gonna die" flu-phobia.

Here's hoping the HINI (called the hinney flu by locals)flu passes you by.


Junior and Orion said...

Meowm is laffin at the 6 signs. She says she doesn't have signs like that at her work, but she is getting a flu shot soon.

Up My Mind said...

6 is a bit overboard.

My office goes overboard on the sanitizer sprays. Unfortunately, the extra scented stuff. That's gonna kill me before I ever get the flu.

But my boss' college age daughter was diagnosed with pneumonia & H1N1 over a week ago. Our local college has about 8 cases so far. Nothing major, though, all recovered except the last 2 cases that developed.