Thursday, October 29, 2009

Update and the 'H1NI Flu Panic'

It's been ages since I last posted anytrhing. My apologies: When our travel-adventure becomes day-to-day school and not much happnes I feel like there's not much to post about. But of course there always is. And my day-to-day life may have become a bit mundane to me but every now and again I have a wake-up call and realise that this is not quite your average 25-year-old South African's experience!

For example, for the last 4 days I have been teaching with a face mask on. Seems almost normal by now but pretty much unheard of where I come from! This is because the number of swine flu cases in Korea has risen sharply over the last few days and the government is trying to prevent a pandemic. The media is full of speculation about how the pandemic could affect the economy, education etc. At the moment, doctors have recomended that high-risk schools be closed down.

Teachers are to send students home who have a fever over 37.8 degrees (yes, all schools have digital thermometers, of course! and we all have teh machines stuck into our ears once a day) and everyone has been told to wear masks and use alcohol-based hand cleansers and wash their hands with soap and water freuqnetly to protect themselevs from infection. There does seem to be something bordering mass-panic going on. Today the number of deaths dues to swine flu in Korea stands at 33 and it has risen rapidly since Monday. This includes a few low risk, young and healthy people which is probably why there is particular worry about it at the moment. I guess because it is so densely populated, Korea is at a higher risk of H1N1 becoming a pandemic than many other countries. It is also getting colder and people's immune systems are lower.

I think the fact that there have been a lot of exams, and still quite a few coming up, students have been studying very hard and not sleeping enough and not eating well, means that their immune systems are down. A lot of my classes at the high school have almost half the students absent.

So trying to teach English with a mask on is pretty tough: pronouncing words clearly becomes obsolete...I do often pull it down to say a word that they don't understand. It also gets kinda hot in here, my own breath warms my face up alot. And the peanut butter-and-toast-breakfast is only a breath away! After eating an apple I ended up with a thin, slightly sticky layer over my face as I breathed the sweet juices in and out of my mouth!

Anyway, I think it's good that Korea is being so careful about swine flu: some measures do seem a bit extreme but when one lives so on top of one another it's probably better to be safe than sorry.

1 comment:

EEbEE said...

is that 33 people to date or 33 people in one day?

also i hear that over prescription of TAMI flu has mutated the virus into a super resistant killing machine!

do be careful..