When you’re not sure if you should panic or take it easy with the swine flu (h1n1) it’s nice to see the media help you out. (sarcasm intended).
Visual reporting on the pandemic tends to concentrate on three areas:
1. The Map – where the flu is found and how many cases etc.
2. The Virus – going into scientific gobbledygook about how the virus has originated.
3. And finally the ‘Wash Your hands’-graphics.
Let’s see … How tough is the concept of washing your hands? Do you need a graphic with numbers from 1-8 and photographed hands or silhouettes before you can carry out the daunting task of washing your own hands? Do you want to learn to do it by watching a video to see how someone else washes her hands?
h1n1-flu will live longer on a hard surface
Will it even help you washing your hands? Well, it will, but probably not as efficient against an airborne/droplet flu-virus compared to diseases caused by germs. The flu-virus reportedly loses its power after five minutes on your hands anyway, so you’ll be relatively safe from handborne infections if you can manage to stop scratching your nose, eyes or touching your mouth in the five minutes after you have touched something infected. Note that the virus can live for more than a day on a hard, non-porous surface compared to only 15-20 minutes in soft tissues.
The real flu-transmitter is the coughing and sneezing which will send out droplets carrying virus and even worse aerosolparticles which will infect you more easily as they are pulled deep down, when you breathe.
Look and learn
On to the actual graphics: Look and learn (or laugh). I have seen lots and lots of these graphics, but I must admit that I never ever studied one before writing this article – and surprise! – you won’t learn new stuff by looking at the graphics. So how come the media gives us all these hands? Do the editors really feel that they serve their readers by printing such a DIY-guide to handwashing?
How to Wash Your Hands
And in Spanish (she is singing to keep track of the time):
Even Barack Obama started his 100-days speech back in april by telling the american population to wash their hands – he didn’t demonstrate it though. I guess most politicians are naturally experts when it comes to this discipline 😉