Aachhu! I sneezed. The Medical rep excused himself and left. The staff nurse who wanted me to grant her leave said she didn't need it anymore and rushed out.
My office assistant suspiciously eyed the tissue in my hand and his gaze followed the journey of the tissue from my hand to the dustbin. Did I hear a sigh of relief thereafter?
In the past couple of weeks, every sniffle,sneeze and cough is being eyed with suspicion. Anyone who sneezes(like I did) is treated like an armed terrorist and everyone steers clear of him. That one sneeze granted me an hour of peace. After careful enquiries from my assistant,I presume, the regular visitors started pouring in again,though not without a mask and maintaining a careful distance. I was amused.

Life returned to normal and I was in the middle of a meeting of department heads when another harmless sneeze escaped my nostrils unintentionally. I was bombarded with advice. At this point,let me remind you that I am a doctor....yet my qualification failed to discourage the advisers....In India,everyone is a doctor,or at least everyone thinks he is.My attempts to explain that I suffer from allergic rhinitis and that it was the smell of something burning which had triggered off  my allergy,fell on deaf ears.
'Get tested for swine flu ma'm.'
'Here...smell some kapoor and elaichi mixture. It destroys the swine flu germs',a nurse tried to hand me a sinister looking cloth pouch.I politely refused.
'Ma'm,you must go home and boil some giloi. It is very good against swine flu.'
I was irritated now.'I do not have swine flu,so thank you for the advice!'
They were all quiet and the meeting ended without any more sneezes or advice. I am sure though,that they all must have resorted to one of the 'surest methods' they were telling me about once out of my office. Swine flu scare has made people paranoid. They are willing to try anything. So much so that I was having difficulty procuring N95 maks for the nursing staff as the vendor told me people were buying the masks at any rate quoted. I even read about someone handing out a concoction claiming it to be a cure for the disease.
It is good to be aware,to take precautions. But why only for swine flu?

-Why not wear a helmet while riding a two wheeler? The incidence of deaths due to head injuries in road traffic accidents is way more than swine flu.
-Why not give up gutkha/pan masala? The incidence of oral cancer is higher than you think.
-Why not give up smoking? Lung cancer is a more terrible way to die than swine flu.
-Why not care about food hygeine before partaking of that pani-puri  by the road side? Food poisoning can be fatal too.
The list is endless. Swine flu is not the biggest danger as is being portrayed. It is far more dangerous that our lifestyles are lowering our body's immunity,exposing us to infectious diseases, heart ailments and even cancers.
So get up and fight against disease...not against swine flu alone!
Pledge to-
eat healthy
work out
laugh more
stress less
go out more
chat and message less
give up that cigarette
develop a positive outlook
wear a hemet!
Pledge to take care of your body as a daily routine,not because of swine flu or dengue scare but because your body is your temple. 
Healthy people are happier....it won't hurt you to live longer.

Take care of your body.
It is the only place you have to live in!

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