Tag Archives: health

Is Taxing Soda the Answer… or Even an Answer?

Checking out some news stories today, and I saw that the idea of taxing soda is coming up again. The idea is to combat obesity.

I’ll quite readily agree that too much soda isn’t good for you. I’ll even agree that obesity is an issue. But I don’t think this is a good solution at all.

There’s a lot more to people gaining weight than drinking soda. Lack of access to healthy foods, for example. There are many neighborhoods where fresh produce is simply not accessible. It’s awfully hard to eat healthy if the majority of foods available are processed, high sugar junk.

Then there are the farm subsidies for corn. Most popular sodas use high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), in part because it’s so cheap due to the subsidies. Might it make more sense to cut back on the subsidies? There are a lot of less healthy foods that use HFCS. Why focus only on soda?

For that matter, why raise a tax if cutting a subsidy could have a similar impact?

Yes, not a popular notion for farmers, but if they could be encouraged to grow something else, maybe not so bad. It’s not a topic I know that much about, so I’m not going to make precise suggestions.

This is just a proposal by health experts, not legislation pending right now. But when I see something like this that strikes me as a bunch of foolishness, I like to respond.

By all means, let’s take a look at what causes obesity and what can be done about it. But I’d rather see work done toward making healthier foods more available in places they aren’t than a tax on sodas and similar things.

A Problem with the Flu Vaccine

In general I’m pro-vaccine, but with caution. Perhaps that’s why I’ve never gotten a flu vaccine or had any of my kids get one. This article on kids with the flu shot being 3 times more likely to be hospitalized with the flu really got my attention.

That’s a pretty amazing difference.

This is not a huge study or anything. 263 children with confirmed cases of influenza from 1996-2006. In other words, it’s not conclusive. But it is something to consider when you’re thinking about getting a flu shot for your kids next year.

Swine Flu Overrated? What a (Non)Surprise!

Somehow I am just not surprised to be reading that swine flu doesn’t look to be any more dangerous than regular flu. Looks like this was more of a panic than a pandemic.

More and more it’s looking like this was only ever a minor issue. Tragic for those who died, but remember that the early reports were only about those who went to the hospital. You don’t go to the hospital for normal cases of flu, meaning that only the worst were being reported. That’s what made this look so bad early on.

Could it get worse? Sure! But it’s not the big issue right now that so many people were fearing.

I live near San Diego, so I’ve paid pretty good attention to the story. For that matter, I, my husband and my son are all getting over some bug or other. My one and only concern with it was that I didn’t want the baby to get it, because my poor son was so miserable coughing, and a 102.5 degree temperature is a problem for an infant. My oldest daughter has only had the lightest of symptoms.

Even in Mexico things are winding down. I truly hope this trend continues. Flu season itself is winding down too.

I know there’s talk that it may be worse next flu season, and if so, that’s the time to deal with it. Right now it’s a maybe. No need to panic about anything right now.

So what should you be doing?

Normal health precautions are perfectly reasonable. You know, wash your hands regularly, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, stay home when possible while sick. No masks, no disposable gloves, no magical cures. Don’t go running to the ER because you coughed, ate pork or  just want more information. Eat healthy, take supplements if you like.

If it’s going to be a problem next flu season, there’s nothing you can do about it right now unless you’re in that industry.

Consider this a lesson in hype as well as a lesson in being prepared for a disaster. It doesn’t hurt to know what you would do if there really were a hideously deadly pandemic going on. At the same time, don’t fall for the media hype and panic when something’s yet a small issue.