What if the flu turns into something big?

Flu patients in 1918 What would you do if this whole flu thing becomes a Big Deal? Bigger than declarations of emergency and the EU warning travelers to stay away from the U.S.?

It’s not an idle question — this isn’t something you want to mess with. (Read up on 1918 if you need the gory details. The strain that’s hitting now, H1N1, is the same one that hit then, and, like then, it’s targeting healthy people. That’s why folks are worried.)

There are two issues for Realtors. First, personal health — meeting in lots of places with lots of people (and dealing with lots of paper) means significantly more exposure and risk. Would you cut down your business until the outbreak ran its course?

Second, as people who go from house to house, Realtors can easily be disease vectors. A bottle of Purell can only do so much.

Which makes me curious: Have you thought at all about what you would do if some nasty version of influenza hit Virginia?

About Andrew Kantor

Andrew is VAR's editor and information manager, and -- lessee now -- a former reporter for the Roanoke Times, former technology columnist for USA Today, and a former magazine editor for a bunch of places. He hails from New York with stops in Connecticut, New Jersey, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Roanoke.
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4 Responses to What if the flu turns into something big?

  1. Jim Duncan says:

    Honestly, I’m far more concerned about whether I should be driving my car to show houses-

    4) The daily toll from traffic accidents is equivalent to 15 plane crashes, each with 200 passengers aboard.

    Just a thought.


    I’ll wash my hands frequently, but I can’t worry about things I can’t control.

  2. Brian Block says:

    C’mon Andrew. Let’s not stoke the media hype even further. The last place I expected to see a story like this was on VARBuzz today.

    Of course, I’ll take one of those REALTOR Flu safety packets complete with Purell, surgical mask, and rubber gloves if the Virginia Association starts distributing them to the membership.

    However, I’m with Jim — much more worried about a car accident while driving around town showing homes. I’m a good driver… It’s the other people that worry me.

  3. Actually, I’m pretty immune to media hype. I don’t even think I own a roll of duct tape, and the guy with the 4.5-oz toothpaste on the plane doesn’t scare me.

    But just as you shouldn’t panic over every little threat the media gushes over, you shouldn’t ignore every one, either. Flu is scary stuff. (For details, check out this post over on Making Light.)

    What’s notable about this flu (as opposed to all the other “oh my God it’s going to kill us all” diseases): It’s coming after flu season; it’s a mix of human, pig, and avian strains; it’s communicable between people; and it’s affecting younger, stronger people more than the old and young.

    All that says, “Hmm, this is a different kind of flu.”

    Will it blow over? Probably. But I also think it’s worth keeping an eye on, especially by people in a profession that has them interacting with a lot of folks.

    As for the dangers of driving, well, it’s not a zero-sum game. In other words, just because something is less of a danger doesn’t mean you don’t ignore it.

    Got smoke detectors at home? Why? The risk of dying in a fire is a lot less than dying in an auto accident, right? So what are you worried about?

    I’m certainly not suggesting panic, or even major worry. But I think a few minutes thought about what you would do if this thing does get big isn’t a bad idea.

  4. Julie Emery says:

    I’d agree that this one is worth keeping an eye on. No panic here, but it’s not unreasonable to think there’s a good possibility there will be another flu epidemic at some point in our lifetimes.
    How I would handle my business depends on the severity of what would happen. If there are confirmed cases in the area and public health warnings have risen to a higher level, I’d certainly be more careful. When they start closing schools and public events, I’ll probably stop showing houses until the immediate crisis passes. And, if I’m coughing and running a fever, I’m going to stay home. No sense in making other people sick!

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