Author Topic: Why You Should Not Just Believe the Emails You Recieve  (Read 3115 times)

Offline ModernSurvival

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Why You Should Not Just Believe the Emails You Recieve
« on: May 01, 2009, 09:25:25 AM »
This is sort of about swine flu, if any of my mods merge it though you are going to the woodshed,  ;)

Anyway in today's show I mentioned a forum member sent me an email from a Dr. at UT Southwest in Dallas.  First this is the email currently circulating.

This afternoon, our Medical Director, Dr. Atkins met with some of the staff at Emergency Medicine Education today regarding the Swine flu. He gave us a few pointers on how to prevent getting the flu:

1. Most important - wash your hands and use hand sanitizer. Washing hands is only 75% effective with killing germs, and hand sanitizer is only 50% effective.

2. Stay away (at least 6 ft.) from anybody who coughs and sneezes.

3. Signs & Symptoms: muscle aches & pains, chills, fever of over 101, coughing and sneezing but NO RUNNY NOSE. If you feel you have the swine flu, just ask yourself if you have a running nose/snot. If you do have a runny nose, then you do not have the SWINE FLU.

4. If you do have the Swine flu symptoms, make sure you go to the emergency room immediately; you will have a better chance of surviving the flu. The best chance of survival is for it to be treated within 24 to 48 hours of contracting the virus.

Important facts:

* Dallas has 8 cases. It can spread very fast. He gave us a ratio of 1 to 2000. One person can spread the flu to 2000 people. Now, with 8 cases pending...can you imagine what it can do. The regular flu spreads at a rate of 20%. The swine flu is spreading at a rate of 50%. (For example: 1 person exposed to 10 people...regular flu = 2 people infected...swine flu = 5 people infected)

* The Swine flu generated on a pig farm in Veracruz, MX. That one person in Veracruz travel to Mexico City and infected the whole area. Mexico City has shut down; they have no transportation, nobody working in the super markets, not enough people working in the hospital and there is over 2000 people with the flu. He said a little over 180 people have already died. He also mentioned that people in Mexico usually don't see doctors instead they go directly to the pharmacy and that the pharmacy has now run out of medication. So, in reality, we don't know how many people have really died or how many people are ill because of the swine flu, due to the fact that most of them don't see a physician. All of this happened within 23 days.

Therefore, without proper precautions, we could actually suffer from a severe epidemic here in the US within the next 21 days. Just a 50% rate...that is 50% of our entire population!

He used the scenario of World War I. This war in fact ended due to the number of deaths from the flu rather than deaths of those killed in battle. I can't remember the numbers, but they were extreme!

He also stated that since the majority of our population is babies, children, teens, and young adults...that we will see the most deaths from Swine Flu in these age groups. One 23 month old baby died this morning. Please, please, please...educate your children more so now than ever before about the importance of washing their hands, using sanitizer, covering their mouths and noses when coughing and/or sneezing, etc.


So was it a hoax?  Nope but it ain't exactly what the man said either, here is what he told me in response to this in a personal email exchange


To some degree.  It overemphasizes the worst possibilities and does not cover the most likely.  Usually, these things end up being milder.  One time in the great pandemic it became much worse over time.  I never stated that 50% will get the disease, I was showing different models of how a disease can spread.  What is not know is how many people in Mexico City have this flu; thus it is impossible to predict how many will get it. 

Since the discussion the RNA structure of the virus has been sequenced.  It is similar to a human 1957 virus and that is probably the reason it is not causing significant disease in older individuals.  It also likes one amino acid which normally cause high mortality.  So it may end up being a mild flu.  It should be pointed out that normal seasonal flu kills about 30,000 annually.  The mortality with this virus is less than 200 so far.  We cannot predict how bad it will be.  The four numbered items you mentioned are pretty close to correct.  Proper hand washing could probably be better if people strictly washed their hands for at least 20 seconds including getting under the tips of their nails.  Under # 3, a congested nasal passage where you have so many secretions you have to breathe through your mouth is not flu. 

Flu can have a little bit of drip and sneezing but not a full head.  Item 4 is what we are recommending, to go to the emergency room as we can give antiviral agents in the first 48 hours and we want to see who really has it so we can track the spread and try to prevent a major outbreak.  Most people will survive the flu regardless of whether they are treated or not.  The antivirals decrease the severity of the disease and in a small percent prevent death or hospitalization.  If you have any questions, please call me.  The reports by public health officials are the best source of information.  You can beep me at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

James M. Atkins, M.D.


This is a perfect example of WHY you can't take emails even from friends as gospel.  His opening says it all, "To some degree.  It overemphasizes the worst possibilities and does not cover the most likely."

Info exchange is a great part of the internet but you must temper it, there could be no better example then the above.  Now let's watch this email chain, I will bet you it begins to evolve even further from the truth.  If you see a version come back around please let me know.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2009, 09:28:02 AM by ModernSurvival »

Dirttime Dude

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Re: Why You Should Not Just Believe the Emails You Recieve
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2009, 12:06:14 PM »

 All good points.... I might add this.....
 First it has to be an "epidemic" , then it goes to "pandemic" ....

 The so called Spanish flu of 1918... We had no meds at all for this flu. Millions died around the world. We have meds to fight this one.
 And we have a better understanding how things are spread, and what to do to help prevent that spread.

 On the news last night a doctor stated that the "regular" flu , so far, is worse than the mexican flu...

 I feel it is premature to make a determination on what and where , this thing could turn into.

 Do all the hand washing etc... It has to help.


Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Why You Should Not Just Believe the Emails You Recieve
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2009, 01:33:08 PM »
So was it a hoax?  Nope but it ain't exactly what the man said either, here is what he told me in response to this in a personal email exchange

This is exactly the type of thing that makes a long lasting and very believable urban legend.  If it was ridiculous claims, it wouldn't spread because it would be obvious.

This is just the most recent e-mail.  But your advice to verify the validity before acting on things like this is good advice for any e-mail that gets you upset.

Offline ColdHaven

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Re: Why You Should Not Just Believe the Emails You Recieve
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2009, 03:05:18 PM »
If something sounds a little to hype-e then I usually just flush it and go on. The problem with some of these is that they have fact and fiction, but in this case, I am willing to believe that it is due to the fact that people usually only hear a percentage of what they are being told. Sometimes facts can get blurred or even changed in the course of this. I think that is what we have here. That is why, at least earlier this week, I went to the CDC and other official websites to get my information and not media outlets. The media is the worse for doing this sort of thing, and I believe they do it on purpose. This I do not think was done on purpose.