How has fear of the flu changed the way you interact with people?

In schools, businesses and houses of worship, concerns about H1N1 flu have prompted warnings about close contact and confined spaces. How has fear of the flu changed the way you interact with people?

The flu hasn’t changed how i interact with others. I think the flu is just a boogie man. -Peter, St. Paul, MN

Rather than shake hands I give the Star Trek Vulcan “Live long and prosper” greeting. -Mark C.

Swine flu isn’t as big of a deal as everyone thinks it is. The regular flu kills more people every year. We need to stop being afraid of interaction with others and get on with our lives. -anonymous text message

I wash my hands more often than normal and carry around anti-bacterial hand wash. If someone is sick I don’t shake their hand. Working at Best Buy, I try to avoid touching people that are sick, and try to restrain from touching my face and eyes. -Adolph Hernick, Minneapolis, MN

I am not changing how I interact with people. I think everyone should get the h1n1 strain of the flu so that our population can build up immunity. -Chris

  • Mike in St Paul

    My only concern is if it goes through my son’s daycare. if it does, my wife and I are looking at taking a week off to watch our son, and I’m not sure we can afford the time off.

  • Shane

    It really hasn’t changed the way I interact with people. After working in an ER for 5 years, I’ve learned to practice proper hand washing techniques which is vital to fighting any bacteria or virus. I have also received the seasonal flu shot, which I have every year that I can remember, and plan on receiving the H1N1 flu shot when it becomes available to the public.

  • Shane

    It really hasn’t changed the way I interact with people. After working in an ER for 5 years, I’ve learned to practice proper hand washing techniques which is vital to fighting any bacteria or virus. I have also received the seasonal flu shot, which I have every year that I can remember, and plan on receiving the H1N1 flu shot when it becomes available to the public.

  • Mary

    I carry my own pen so I don’t have to use pens in public places like grocery stores.

  • Paula

    I told my husband at church on Sunday that if we sit in the very front row, I can drink from the chalice because then no one else will have taken from the cup before me. That’s the only way I will drink from the cup these days! My husband, being the germiphobe he is, never takes from the cup!

  • Dima

    I work in the food industry, and I have been asked this question a lot recently. The truth is, we should be doing what we’ve always been doing, maintaining clean, accountable, standardized & intelligent processes that do not allow for any pathogen, virus, or disease to come into contact with us. If you are drastically changing your contact with people now, you are a part of the problem to begin with….

  • Stephanie in Circle Pines

    I work at a Caribou Coffee and notice a lot of people coughing and carrying other symptoms. These people seem to have no regard for those around them or those making their lattes. After handling their money or credit cards I then was my hands very well and sanitize the counters, tables and registers. If they have given me cash I keep it in a separate place and sent it to the bank asap. I wish people would just stay home. They don’t need coffee.

  • Paul

    I try to get to the airport early.

  • http://www.lungmn.org Bob Moffitt

    It wasn’t changed the way I interact with people, although I do try to use the hand sanitizer a little more often. As a spokesperson for the american Lung Association in Minnesota, my responsibilty is to inform and educate people about influenza in all its forms and strains.

  • Noel

    Nothing has changed for me, until yesterday when I found out that a co-worker’s son may have the H1N1 virus. As a result, I’m staying away from her and her office.

  • kennedy

    I have consciously chosen not to change how I interact with others. I have found myself more aware of others symptoms of illness. The thing I have changed is to wash my hands more frequently. Also, despite mocking hand sanitizer in the past I have used it a few times when soap and water is not conveniently available.

  • Marty

    I work in a liquor store where people are constantly picking up bottles and setting them down. There are a lot of germs floating around. We dust/windex bottles in maybe a one week rotation, which was something we did before H1N1 anyway. I personally haven’t changed a single thing.

  • Karen

    The H1N1 flu hasn’t changed my actions at all. It’s still mild, and the whole scare thing is just that, FUD. I rather hope I get it soon, so if it does mutate into something dangerous, I might have a bit of immunity.

  • Tony in downtown Mpls

    I carry my own pen when I need to sign receipts; if the store only has a stylus I ask to sign a hard copy. I think stores like Target that use a stylus should have a big pump bottle of sanitzer at the register — it’s an item they carry!

    Today I was on the light rail and a woman sitting near me sounded awful, like she was going to cough up a lung. She was coughing loudly, then clearing her throat around the same decibel level as an electric mixer — all this coughing directly out in front of her, without covering her mouth. Needless to say, I got up and moved to a seat far from her.

  • http://knoxesque.wordpress.com Nate

    It hasn’t changed anything about the way I interact with people.

    I shake the hand of someone I meet and I hug my usual friends like I always have.

    If anything, all of the flu hype has given me an excuse to be more goofy and give the Star Trek greeting and funny things like that.

    I’m not taking it seriously like some people seem to be.

  • Pete schneider

    The H1N1 flu has really made my life as a crusty old curmudgeon a LOT easier!!! Now ,if I want somebody to leave me alone,all I have to do is fake a cough!!!

  • phil

    H1N1 is WAY down on my list of things to worry about. Though I did read that there’s an added risk factor with H1N1 and obesity … I guess I’m doomed.

  • Travis

    I’ve been hearing a lot about Snake Flu recently and it’s very disconcerting. To the point that I have been avoiding going outside whenever possible. If we don’t teach people proper avoidance techniques – assuming there even are any! – we could be looking at a MAJOR crisis to society as a whole.

  • Flemmy J. Flemhead

    I love oreos and Bosco!!

  • Elizabeth T

    Working in public (occupational) health, I’m glad that people are taking the time to pay more attention to their own heath, as well as others’.

    I also think the media and gov’t has blown this waaaaay out of proportion. A young boy died today, which is an individual tragedy to his parents. With all due respect to his parents’ grief: It is not a tragedy to the public’s health.

    How many people died last week of ordinary seasonal Influenza? I’m sure it was more than 1.

    Re: the story about the student helpers on campus @ U of M … this story totally failed to mention that these are “flu-like symptoms” and may not even be the Flu. 100 cases per week? What is the student body of the U? 25,000? How does this rate compare to last year? It makes the current illnesses sound so threatening.

    Increasing awareness of public health = good.

    Failure to put these numbers in context = not so good.

  • Jim

    I haven’t changed anything: I’m always a big hand-washer, which they say is the most important thing. I get the seasonal flu shot every year and I will get the H1N1 shot if I can. We will stay home if we get sick and get lots of rest in bed. These are the basics that actually work.

    Every year in the US approximately 30,000 people die of the seasonal flu. This works out to (an average of) 576 deaths every week, year-round. Or about ten per week, every week in each state. The point is that the flu is acting perfectly normally so far this year: There’s no signal. (We should have, on average, about 50-60 deaths from flu since the start of school.)

    I think there is too much hype; but if it serves to get more people vaccinated and washing their hands and staying home when sick, then it’s a good thing in the end.

  • Laura

    As a kindergarten teacher (with 3 students already out with the swine flu) it has caused me to worship hand sanitizer. I never used to use the stuff – or even antibacterial hand soap – but it’s pretty much a necessity at this point.

  • Sue

    It has changed in that I have to bite my tongue and listen intently while others go on and on about how scared they are. If I were pregnant I’d be concerned, but I’m not – so I’m not.

  • Barb

    Already today (at a job interview), we questioned whether or not we should shake hands or just smile and say “hello”.