Monday, August 17, 2009

Prevention and cure

I'll keep this one brief. The message is "prevention is better than cure".

First: Everyone is scared of "swine flu". It may be impossible to prevent if you live and work in crowded places, but one can greatly minimise the risks by washing hands frequently (or using hand sanitiser gels, which one can carry in one's pocket) and not touching one's face with one's hands. And that way, you reduce the risk of a lot of other illnesses. On the other hand, if you do have suspected swine flu, this is what Tamiflu could do to you or your kids. Not pretty.

Second: a truly thought-provoking article on healthcare in the US, and why the focus is on cure rather than prevention, even inside hospitals -- even inside emergency rooms known for transmitting hospital-borne infections!

How much could society benefit if we spent a fraction as much on prevention (and education on prevention) as on cure?

Update: BMJ blog post on antiviral recommendations. And Sunil Mukhi, who starts with the best headline yet and doesn't let up from there. He makes a point that I had forgotten: what about spitting? Can we now start locking up spitters, Singapore-style?

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