Friday, May 01, 2009

4/30/09 Precaution as a way of life

I must have better things than this to blog about, but this sticks in my head. Yesterday at work, a pretty high-level executive sent a reassuring message to employees about the swine flu, entitled "Precaution as a way of life." He went on to say that we must maintain the "same diligence" as we always have with hygiene and hand-washing, but must add "extra focus."

(One thing I never understand about the stated requirements for effective hand-washing: how long does it take to kill germs? 20 seconds? 30 seconds? As long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday? As long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice? I've heard all of these. But what happens after 15 seconds, or if you don't sing the last "Happy Birthday to YOU" line? The rules are stated so arbitrarily that they become meaningless -- there's obvious benefit to hand-washing, but I truly have no idea one should actually wash, or how, to achieve the most benefit.)

Aside from the contradictory writing, the overall point was to be careful in life as a day-to-day policy. I like him well enough, but I can't agree with that. Safety must be a calculated judgement of risk versus benefit, or we'd never leave the house, or get into the bathtub in the house. Life has its dangers, and focusing too heavily on their avoidance could only diminish it. Precaution as a way of life? Sounds risky to me.


1 comment:

Louise said...

The Red Cross recommends that you wash your hands for 20 seconds. Many smart people recommend that you wear your motorcycle helmet.

I recommend those things AND that you hug friends and ride your motorcycle often.

A little caution. A little risk. A lot of reward.