Tobold's Blog
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Pax Pox

In what is quickly becoming known as the Pax Pox, it turns out that visiting the Penny Arcade Expo 2009 could get you infected with the swine flu. Gabe had to publish a public health warning with a list of outgoing flights and trains where the flu might have spread further.

Apart from making those of us who couldn't attend feel less sad about missing PAX, the Pax Pox is bad news. It links together with similar reports and medical forecasts saying that an epidemic of Influenza A(H1N1) in the northern hemisphere this winter is pretty much assured. The only good news is that as far as we know now, this strain of flu isn't any more deadly than the regular flu, and most people affected will just feel sick for a few days before getting better even without treatment.

But of course if you can, you'd want to avoid catching the Pax Pox. Apart from general flu avoidance measures, most prominently frequently washing your hands, for gamers the message might be to stay away from big gaming conventions and similar mass events this fall and winter.
Our government sent every citizen a neat pamflet about the flu. Mostly this restates common knowledge, such as that you cannot really avoid getting the flu, but you can decrease the risk (by not going to mass events when it is not absolutely necessary, by washing your hands regularly etc). The big difference with normal flu seems to be that its more contagious or that more people have no significant resistance against it (only those above 50 years old seem to have some resistance due to undergoing a similar flu-strain iirc).

What im (a little) worried about is that this virus may mutate into something considerably more nasty coming winter. COmbined with the increased contagiousness this may spell disaster. This is the first time im planning on getting a vaccination for the flu. But as im not in one of the government appointed priority/risk groups right now (medical professionals etc, people with reduced overall resistance) i still have to wait some time for that...
Just got my vaccination for the "normal flu", this will not help me against the swine flu, but it should avoid a "double" infection.

In our company we now have some desinfaction automats at the entrance to the cantina.
Didn't Blizzcon hand out free hand sanitizer in their swag bag?

= # # =
I work for Chevron and if we show 2 or more signs of any type of Flu we aren't permitted on site. Caution is one thing, but the hysteria behind H1N1 is worse.

Like everything in this world, it gets blown out of proportion. Take steps like you do every year and deal with it.
My niece & nephew in Australia came down with Swine Flu, and when I called to see how they were I was shocked when my sister said over half of Australia's population was infected. It was so bad (and the media's scare mongering was causing such panic) that many Aussie doctors were refusing to diagnose "Swine Flu" and instead were telling their patients, "You have Flu-like symptoms."

Apparently Swine Flu is really not the big deal the media are making it out to be; it's only the elderly, the very young, and those with respiratory problems that need to be careful, but then those three groups are at similar risk from the regular flu as well.

I even suspect the wife and I both came down with it because we were both sick for a few days, then had a lingering, persistent cough for a couple of weeks (one symptom of swine flu). I told the In-Laws about my niece and nephew and they were horrified, but they really freaked out when I mentioned the wife and I might have it. "Don't say that!" they practically yelled, as if not talking about it might make it go away.

As long as you're healthy and not in one of the 'at-risk' categories it's really not a big deal; it's just the flu.
Yeah and there's really no point to get a vaccine for the normal flu to avoid a double infection, because that's not gonna happen. Studies have shown H1N1 is more virulent and typically takes the place of seasonal flu in a 1v1 competition.
PAX was awesome and I recommend anyone who is any type of gamer attend it at least once. It's not a trade show, it's squarely aimed at gamers and gaming news sites. The atmosphere is relaxed and the vibe is unlike none other for any large-scale event I have ever attended.

I heard numerous comments from employees of businesses around the convention about how well behaved the crowds were. I even had one cashier pull me aside and ask what it is about us that made us this way.

All I could say was: "we're all gamers".

I spent three days there and me and friend I went with did not get sick at all (healthy supply of good food and beer must have helped, lol).
We have a bit comic about PAX pox and possible effects on Microsoft here:
"Didn't Blizzcon hand out free hand sanitizer in their swag bag?"

At PAX there was hand sanitizer at the iglove booth. :o They were nifty xD

I got sick a couple days after I visited PAX on Sunday and just got over it. I didn't go to the doctor so I can't confirm, but I'm sure I'm one of those unlucky people.
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