Life in the Land of the Rising Sun

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Just a Quick News Flash

I've been really lax in my posting, haven't I?  Still too distracted, still not inspired enough.  But actually, I've been working on a post that's still not quite finished.  I'll stick this in to cover the bases in the meantime.

The flu epidemic is getting worse in Japan.  There are currently two different types going around.  To make matters worse, the news reported yesterday that the city of Kashima (i.e. where I work) is one of the worst-hit areas of the country, enough that emergency preparations are already being made.  Although the number is finally starting to drop, up until last Monday as much as 4% of our senior high student body, nearly 15% of the 9th grade class, was down with confirmed flu.  The overwhelming majority was from the same homeroom, so the school wound up declaring that homeroom quarantined and barring all its students from coming for a week.  It's the first time anything like that has happened in the history of this school.

And now we have a report of a renewed bird flu scare in China.  Egad.

Everywhere we look we are seeing reminders to wash our hands often and, more importantly, to gargle.  Unfortunately, although there has been no public mention of this here (for obvious reasons), a recent study in Australia concluded that use of mouthwash with alcohol, such as Listerine, vastly increases the risk of oral cancer.  In other words, possibly damned if you do, possibly damned if you don't.

Maybe this would be a good time to use my accumulating paid vacation time and pop off to somewhere more isolated, such as Iceland.

Stay healthy, everyone!


  • Oh no.... just heard in the radio yesterday, the government predicted that a small city in Central Java got flu bird.

    I wonder actually about the flu shots whether it helps to prevent or not. In my office, there's always flu shots every year but people are still catching cold.

    Whoaaa... didn't know that gargle increases the risk of oral cancer.. that's scary!

    By Blogger Selba, at 10:06 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Selba, at 10:06 AM  

  • Selba
    Well, the flu and colds involve completely different viruses (viri?), so a flu shot won't do spit against colds. There are also different kinds of influenza, and shots won't guard against all of them.

    The report on mouthwash was released only very recently in Australia. Apparenly only those with alcohol increase the risk. They say the main reason is that, when alcohol stays in the mouth for more than a few seconds, some of it converts into acetaldehyde, a known carcinogen. It's not as dangerous if you use mouthwash with alcohol soon after eating or drinking, because your mouth's natural defenses are at work. The problem is if you use it while your mouth is relatively dry, i.e. in the middle of the day or before going out in the evening.

    Comment deleted

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 11:11 AM  

  • Remember, gets lots and lots of extra sleep, drink extra fluids, and try not to touch your face.

    Mom Kami

    By Blogger Kami, at 3:38 PM  

  • My high school chemistry teacher used to tell us that if we felt a cold or sore throat coming on, gargling with Listerine would take care of it. Because it has thymol in it, which in its pure form, just a watch-face sized drop on your skin would kill you DED. That's what he said...

    By Blogger Olivia, at 2:00 PM  

  • Could that be called killing one with kindness? Or does it bring up the debate whether the cure is worse than the disease?

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 10:00 PM  

  • Iceland? Yeah, they probably need more tourist dollars now than ever.

    Hope you are feeling better.

    By Blogger HappySurfer, at 7:42 PM  

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