I can’t tell if it is a trend yet, but it seems there has been a bit of a decrease in the outright quackery published in the Huffington Post lately. But that doesn’t mean it’s disappeared, and the poor quality of the writing more than makes up for the decreased quantity.
Case in point: Why We Overreacted to an Ordinary Flu, by Philip Slater, a sociologist with no medical education (a point that becomes evident very quickly). For example:
In an online newsletter recently some mad housewives were sharing tips on how best to triple-wash and triple-sterilize their countertops. What on earth did they think they would catch from their own countertops?
Um, Salmonella? E. coli? In case he hasn’t picked up a newspaper in the last couple of years, there are a few little problems with food safety in this country. But I’m sure that he will find a cogent way to relate prevention of food cross-contamination to the current influenza problem—right?
Since I eat food that has fallen on the floor, both in my own and other people’s houses, not to mention the ground outside, and since I was never vaccinated against all the childhood diseases children are vaccinated against today (and came down with most of them), and since I grew up before antibiotics existed, I should, in the view of the mad housewives, be dead by now. And I have never had a flu shot.
I’m very glad he is doing so well. Based on his photo, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t pre-date antibiotics. I’m also not so sure what eating dirty food has to do with the current flu pre-pandemic. I certainly hope you don’t mean to say that because you turned out OK (except for some apparent cognitive dysfunction) we should put everyone at risk. Would you have treated your strep throat with the antibiotics that you didn’t know about? That’s how you prevent rheumatic fever, you know.
I’ve always held the view that if I wasn’t stressed or exhausted no flu germ could ever touch me, and that if I was stressed out and exhausted, any stray bug could have its way with me. Of course there’s still time for one to do me in some day, but no one lives forever. I think we’re in far more danger today from our obsessive over-protectionism with regard to microbes than from the bugs themselves.
I’m glad you have so much confidence in your ability to wish away disease. That’s so nice. I’m also glad you think we’re in more danger from “over-protectionism” than from “the bugs”. I’m sure that will bring great comfort to the moms who are so ill from HIV that they can’t care for their kids who are dying of diarrhea and malaria.
Why are we so obsessed with killing bacteria? Especially when we depend on them so utterly. We each of us carry within us trillions of bacteria — ten percent of our dry body weight, in fact. They slave night and day to maintain and repair our cells, digest our food, and in a hundred other ways keep us alive. I have every confidence that they know what they’re doing — a confidence very, very few doctors have ever inspired in me.
Why are we obsessed with killing bacteria? Personally, I’m not at all obsessed with killing 99.9999% of the bacterial species I encounter, only the ones that try to kill me or my patients—I get medieval on them. And where did you get the idea that bacteria are slaving away to “maintain and repair our cells” and the rest? Seriously, where? I only ask because that bears no resemblance to anything I’ve read in my biology or medicine texts.
Western medicine, which is based on a military model, is also obsessed with killing. If doctors can’t find something to kill or cut they seem to be at a loss. Not that doctors are alone in this — our political leaders seem to approach every social problem by making “war” on it, and every international problem by throwing bombs at it.
That’s the ticket! Once you’ve said that, you’ve pretty much summed it up. I’m a vicious killer. Seriously, has this guy ever talked to a doctor?
Bacteria were here millions of years before us. And they’ll be here long after we’ve destroyed ourselves with our impatience.
That’s so nice. Bacteria are cute and fuzzy and will outlive us all. I’ll tell you what—you go ahead and catch all the bacterial diseases you want. Just stay away from my waiting room. I’ve got real patients in there trying to stay healthy.
Oh, and influenza is a virus, not a bacterium. Make a note of it.