If, in anticipation of the pandemic, you are buying quantities of surgical masks for your office, note that they are not all alike, and what good do they do? According to OSHA, surgical masks serve to protect other people from your germs. They don’t do much to protect you from other people’s germs — except that they do keep your germy hands from touching your nose and mouth.
I got this consoling information courtesy of a Duane Morris e-pamphlet, a checklist for employers on preparing the workplace for a pandemic. The law firm offered the obvious, like have plenty of hand sanitizers, and the not so obvious:
“Support employees who are out of work by reviewing and liberalizing leave policies, but recognize that what is done in this context may have precedent in other contexts.”
Other contexts, hmm?? Useful lawyer speak.
Also of concern, what happens to people who merely suffer from allergies. Will they be booted off planes? If you look closely at the CDC’s advice to airline personnel, regarding how to identify traveler’s with swine flu, maybe the pollen-sensitive traveler should carry a doctor’s note that says, “I just have allergies. Really.”