What Does Swine Flu Have to Do with Neckties?

Andover_tiesYou probably already know about the H1N1 virus, also called the swine flu virus. The word swine refers to pigs, which scientists believe are the origin of this particular influenza or flu virus. Although pharmaceutical (drug-making) companies have developed a vaccine (a drug you take to prevent you from getting or catching a disease), there have not been enough vaccines produced for everyone to get one. This is a serious problem in most countries, especially here in the United States, where the government projected (predicted) that 120 million vaccines would be available by this month. In fact, less than 50 million vaccines have been administered (given) to children and adults in the United States this year.

I went to my doctor’s office two weeks ago and no vaccines were available. In fact, my doctor was also out of (did not have) the seasonal flu vaccine. Each year, scientists produce a vaccine specific to the kind of virus that is most common for that flu season (period of time when something happens). This is separate from the swine flu virus, and is usually called the seasonal flu vaccine. I’m still waiting to get both the seasonal and swine flu vaccines, but I am not very optimistic (hopeful) that I will get it before the end of the flu season.

Today I read in The Wall Street Journal about a new problem related to the swine flu: the necktie that your doctor wears (that is, if your doctor is a man). Some studies have indicated that these ties are in fact dangerous to patients (people who go to see the doctor or who are sick) because they can actually carry germs and viruses. When the doctor leans close (moves close to, moves toward) to your face with a tie on, you have a greater chance of catching (getting) these germs and viruses.

Why is the necktie a particular problem? The reason is simple: Men rarely wash or clean their ties, unlike their shirts and pants and other clothing. For this reason, some hospitals have recommended that male doctors stop wearing ties. Many doctors, however, believe that the threat (danger) of neckties carrying germs and viruses is exaggerated (considered greater than it really is). Some have even suggested that younger doctors who don’t want to dress more formally are using this new finding (discovery) as an excuse to dress more casually (informally) at hospitals and clinics.

A real problem, I suppose, is the following situation: You go to see your doctor to get a swine flu vaccine, and the doctor is wearing a tie. What do you do? You could get both the vaccine and the swine flu all at the same time!


P.S. I’m joking in this last paragraph, of course.  If the vaccine is available to you, you should definitely get it – or send it to me.

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42 Responses to What Does Swine Flu Have to Do with Neckties?

  1. CEYCEY says:

    Hello Dear Jeff and greetings to Lucy ,

    I’m writing to you from Turkey ,?stanbul.I ‘ve found your amazing website just three days ago via the effortles english ,which estabileshed A.J Huge and colegues.They had reccomend your website and I’ve immiadiately checked your website and I loved it.First many thanks for both of you, you’r doing a great job.For three evenings I m listening your episodes and I found them extreamly usefull because your method for my opinion is a unique method.

    Here we are worried about swine flu too.People in our country divided two ,one part against to the swine flu vaccine and they dont want to be vaccinate.Because in our media escpecialy in our TV s for days they are talking about the side effects about the vaccine so the people minds confused .The vaccine ‘s side effects are not simple side effects ,they seem serious .In schools the adminstration of school had given a paper to the pupils which must sign by the parents , in that paper you should first read the side affects of the vaccine and accept them and sign the paper if you want to vaccinete your child.One thing is funny about this vaccinate issue.It is that our prime minister revealed that he doesnt want to be vaccinate and he said that he thought it isnt neccesary for everyone but our minister of health explained that the vaccine is important , the side effects are not serious as mentioned in media and he vaccineted on TV .
    Here for days all the flue occurences are accepted swine flue even if they were seasonal flue ,we dont know if its really a swine flue or a seasonal flue ,nobody knows.And the seasonal flu vaccines were out of in the pharmacies too .
    Today in our office one of our friends become suspicious about her mother in law has swine flu and tried to find a drug named Tamiflu which is said the only efficient drug for this illness but after a serious searching she learned unfortunatelly this drug is out of too.I think it will be go on the black market.
    So I think the important thing is having a good immune system because the people who had died beacuse of the s.flue actually they have had serious health problems and weak immune systems but I m not sure .


  2. emiliano says:

    Yes, of course, neckties could be really very dangerous to the patients who go to see the doctor as men don´t use to wash the neckties as often as other clothes.
    I don´t wear neckties usually but it´s true that at the time I like to wear them I don´t wash neckties for long periods of time as they
    can be damaged by the washing machine.
    Thinking about this matter I think that the last time I wear a necktie was on 2000 year when my daughter Eva got married. I was the godfather and walked with her till the altar where he was awaiting for her.
    I have got the seasonal flu vaccine three weeks ago, same as Cuca, but I think that this vaccine has some bad effects on her as she
    began to be a little more tired but I can´t assure it as a real matter.
    The other vaccine we don´t Know if it is a good idea to inoculate it as there some comments about the bad effects that it products.
    True? Not true?. We don´t really know at all.
    By the way Jeff, is it free for you to get the vaccines when you go to the doctor?. Please tell us.

    Here, yes, they are free, but the second swine vaccine is only now to the people that are in danger for their jobs, age or if the have
    any decease. Also children are being inoculated with it, consequences?. Well that are to be seen.

    In my case I think that I need to get the two of them, I have to be sane in the way of doing my work properly and don´t get
    any kind of flue. More or less as everybody I suppose.

    Thank you Jeff, this is a very interesting matter that affects all of us.

  3. Alfonso says:

    Hi, Jeff,
    my name is Alfonso. I´m from Spain. Congratulations for your website, I´ve discovered it ten days ago and since then I´m hearing your interesting pods all I can. In reference of your article I´ll tell you that I am suposed to be vaccinated so I´m a firefighter, but I don´t want to. I don´t think it´s sure that I´m in risk because in my country there have been thirties died and we are more than 40 million people.
    The tie theory is very fun!! ha, ha!! As I see almost all men do the same with their ties. Maybe the solution is to make recycling ties! You can wear your tie and then you put it into the “Recycling ties container”. What do you think?

    I´m joking of course.
    Thanks for all.

    P.S.California must be so beautiful, I agree. I hope one day I could visit it.

  4. isaac says:

    I am really enjoying your writing . well I think I fell in love with your podcasts and your blog .

  5. Peter says:


    Down here,we call the seasonal vaccine for flu “flu shot.” It is easear this way ,isn’t it?

  6. Peter says:

    Dear Ceycey and Alfonso,

    Wellcome to Eslpod community. I personaly prefer to call it family not community. Happy to hear that we have two new members in our family. I have been listening to Jeff and Lucy since 2007.I am a relatively old listener .of course , not as old as Emiliano, I believe he has the seniority here in both blog and podcast.any how , I just want to share my experience with you.over the last 2 years that I have been with the Eslpod,I have learnt alot.keep listening and you will do the same. You will see for yourselves how this rich , and comprehensive program touch your hearts.wellcome guys that you are in good and capable hands.

    Jeff and Lucys’ English prowess are uncomperable.


  7. Peter says:

    By old I meat the length of time we have been a member of this flawless program

  8. Irene says:

    Hi Jeff and all,
    I know, the opinion is very different. First I think it is a histeria what is made with swine flu.
    In the last time I looked for information wherever I could do this.
    The result is, that often the sickness after vaccination is often harder.
    Furthermore, in Germany we have the vaccine in addition with a lot of other parts.
    All is not enough tested!

    Here we have cases of death with and without vaccination!

    I have an autoimmune disease but my desicion is NO vaccination.
    There are some different possibilities for precaution, like: good food, hygiene like washing hands more often, enough sleep,
    avoiding crowds of people and so on.

    Jeff, you see, you can have my portion of vaccine 🙂

    Be healthy all!

  9. melja from Ukaraine says:

    Hi! I m form Ukraine! You dont even cant imagine how in our country the problem of swine flu is exaggerated! Schools, universities and other public places are closed already 3 weeks. Its horrible – when politscs are not separated from real medecine! I dont want to put some detail about swine flu in Ukraine, but we have a swine politics flu!

  10. Peter says:

    My dear newly-joined friends,

    In fact, if you stick to this programme long enough you will get this globaly recognized language willy-nilly.( LoL)

    Jeff, seems like your sense of humour has been rubbed off on to me, hasn’t it?

    What can I say

    You stick , you learn

  11. Peter says:

    For the first time in the history of Eslpod , somebody ,By that I mean me , wants to be a bit critical of this magnificent innovation.

    No offence ,but Eslpod is a bit prude. I believe we as students are entitled to learn some, from the dark side of English language. And ,as you well know ,Eslpod don’t stop at anything( LoL) to avoid those suggestive terms. In The recent present ,I stumbled on a very funny , yet educative term that I really want to share it with my dear friends. But ,I dont have the guts to do so.



  12. emiliano says:

    A lot of people are with you Irene, the same as with you Melja, all about these flu has been exaggerated and there are even doctors that
    are against massive vaccines without knowing enough of the side effects of doing it.
    Millions of euros or dollars are been spent buying tons of doses and the question is who win with the global panic?.
    In my opinion, the same as yours Irene, I don´t want that my wife receives a doses of the new swine vaccine by her autoimmune decease too, and even the season one that she receives three weeks ago has some estrange effects that I can´t associate for sure to it but I have my suspects about the vaccine and her posterior reaction.
    To me, being in the group of risk, I have serious doubts about receiving it and I am delaying the moment of going to the clinic.
    I have doubts because I have some obligations that oblige me not to be in bed if I could avoid it, but in fact I don´t know what could
    be the right action. Having the vaccine or not, that is the question?
    More or less like Hamlet……..to be or not to be, that is ……..?

    I joint to Peter and give the news my welcome to the big family of ESL podcast, here you´ll have “the best site of the web to learn English” also the most incredible teachers of the world, our highly appreciates Lucy and Jeff who give us their lessons and their
    love in all they are doing day after day along so long time.

  13. emiliano says:

    The plurals are always my problem with English, sorry, “I want to say that I give my welcome to all the new friends of our big
    ESL family”.

    Thinking about the swine vaccine I have to ask my daughters what have they done (I have an idea, sure NO vaccines) and also to ask them what is their opinion about me, yes, it could be a good idea despite I can imagine their response.

    Sorry again and regards.

  14. Lanter Hermann says:

    I do not agree with the judgement concerning the danger of the swine flu vaccination.
    Until this day, there is no evidence that the vaccination has caused health damage. Rather, the flu has (like all years) led to many deaths.
    An autoimmune disease is no contraindication for a vaccination. On the contrary, patients with weak immunity or other illnesses (cancer, heart diseases, lung diseases…) are the target group for this (and also other) vaccinations.
    Fortunately, the polio has been exterminated thanks to the polio vaccination to a great extent (unfortunately, only in the 3rd world countries this terrible illness is still endemic).
    With the vaccination against the polio there had been many opponents and alarmists too…
    Best wishes

  15. Peter says:

    Ditto Emiliano, it is not just you my friend .It is so frustrating

    I have the same problem. In fact ,it is the most difficult area of English language . Where you must use a plural form were not.Believe you me Even native speakers have the same problem.

    For example ; which one is right?

    You know what, for countable nouns, we use “s” at the end . Chicken is countable ,but when you order sandwiches ( why not sandwich) you should say: put some tomatoes ,some pickles, some chicken ( not chickens why?????????) . Nobody says some pieces of chicken.

    We say I have no idea why not ideas because Idea is one so why for plan we always add “s” I have plans or no plans or dinner plans.We have one dinner planned, but we should say dinner plans not dinner plan.
    no promotions or no promotion
    no foods or no food which one is right which one is wrong and why
    we should say I don’t like cats /or dogs
    it is wrong if we say I don’t like dog must say a dog

  16. emiliano says:

    Thank you Hermann, you are kind giving us your information, and yes I agree with you in so many things. Vaccines are very useful and save lot of people life and deceases along several years.
    Polio, Smallpox, Tetanus, Typhus, Rabies, Rubeola, and so many illness. But this swine vaccine is quite different.
    Yesterday evening my daughter Laura was at home, she is nearly a biologist already and I asked her about the flue vaccines.
    She told me as follows:
    An immunologist doctor who is teaching at the university has said to the students (ex-official) that nearly 80 per cent of the sanity staff
    in Spain are not taken the swine vaccine, just because it has not been tested enough and they (the doctors and nurses) know it perfectly well.
    So she, my daughter, does not recommend us to take the swine vaccine at all.
    She does not take it of course, and she knows about the matter.
    Adding to this she told us that our illness is just having the immunology system very active, it attacks myelin in my wife case,
    similar to me in other way, some years ago, so if we should have to take some medications is just the contrary immune depressing drugs.
    A vaccine as you said above could be not appropriate in some cases because reactive the immune system of the body, and the side effects are unknown in many cases who needs just the contrary.
    I think we are not well and enough informed and authorities take all the people as a mass in general but everyone has particular health problems that does not been considerate individually, and they don´t care about you or me.
    What is good for many may be bad for few, that´s the rule I think.
    We need to think always not to act as we are told without thinking about our own problems or situations.
    Thank you again Hermann, and welcome here. Talking about things may be we can see some light or contrast other values opinions
    different from ours.

  17. Tania says:

    Hi ! Listening English Cafe 216 I felt that I knew English at last . Why ? Because we use the same neologisms : steroid , hormon , proteina , doza , testasteron ,
    acnee , advers , urina including the same English words doping and bodybilding .
    Of course , a joy of a short period of time as the rest of the lesson … well , it was not all a blur for me but with a lot of interesting novelties .
    Very nice lesson.

    All the best for you all . Way to go !


  18. Peter says:

    A good sanitizer , keeps germs at bay

  19. elcomandant says:

    I’m wondering why so alarm about swine flu. Could it be to achieve that the entire world doesn’t think about this big crisis?, or, maybe there is some pharmaceutical company that was interested in to earn huge amounts of money?. I don’t know, but what I know is that common flu cause more death than swine flu.

    Last week, my company sent me a letter to say to me that, since I have a heart disease I am in a risk collective. They offered to me the opportunity to get vaccine. I refused it. It is possible that in the future I could catch the swine flu, but it is also possible that I could catch cancer o some else disease. So Jeff, if you tell me your address I will send it with pleasure.

    I hope I can keep writing in this blog for many years more.


  20. Paulo Lopes Ferreira says:

    greeting for all

    I’m writing from Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, here the problem is serios too. Our gevernaments they don’t speak about this vaccines, and the populations wait a announcement of government.

    but another side, some time i think this (swine flu) is a exaggeration of midia.

    Best regards for all friends aroud the world.

    Paulo Lopes.

  21. Lanter Hermann says:

    With reference to the statement of Emiliano, I can totally respect his decision, and I also have much sympathy for his fears. The vaccination against the swine flu is voluntary. On the other hand, I do not support the statement that specialists (Immunologists, Infectiologists,…) refuse the vaccination ! The position of the experts and opinion leader is clear: the vaccine is an effective protection against the H1N1 virus and is as safe as the vaccine against the seasonal flu. Please contact the website of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) about “Vaccine Safety”.
    I wish all ESL listeners a virus-free period and good health.

  22. Alfonso says:

    Thanks Peter and Emiliano for your wellcome. and everyone.

    I only want to say that I only got once the flu vaccine and, that year, I was ill instead. And the symptoms were worse.

  23. Sara says:

    we had a free offer of that vaccine in our university and I didn’t get it. It is not very trustful. I believe if you have a healthy body, you shouldn’t get it.

  24. emiliano says:

    It seems to me Hermann that you know just a lot about this matter, I don´t, it is only my intuition and something I have read about our illness and it´s consequences.
    But it is also our way of living and doing things. We spaniards are a very peculiar people, we like to do just what every one is willing to do, and of course we know and talk about everything with or without reason at all.
    In my circle of friends and family not even one has taken the vaccine may be just because we don´t like to do what the Government is
    telling us to do. Also because we have not any faith in the authorities of any kind as we think they are unfair or don´t have any credit to our own opinion.
    Each spaniard is anarchic and individualist and we don´t like that anybody tell us what we have to do.
    As you may see a complete disaster, all is improvisation, lack of good juice and everybody doing what he or her likes to do.
    If you come here sure you may see it by your own, all is amusing, life is easy despite everything is going down, deeper and deeper, but we live only thinking in today and doing things just because “me da la Real gana” (it´s a spanish phrase that mention the KIng will to do what the King wants always).
    But have in mind “that we know about everything” not as Socrates who said: “I only know that I know nothing” but he was a wise man.
    By my part as spaniard more or less the same, I always act following my own opinion, my feelings or my intuition. And I don´t trust
    nearly anything, only the persons I know and I love, and listening to them sometimes I may change my mind too.

    Years ago I have the opportunity of knowing people from your country and I was enchanted by their discipline, their good way of doing
    things and a very good organized mind, just the contrary from us.
    They were studding spanish in a school that was very near where I was working in a Bank, they came to changed money, travellers cheques or searching pay orders and I talked with them several times.
    To me people from Switzerland have been always persons with a good, very good education, good citizens and as we say here
    “una mente muy bien amueblada” I don´t know how to say it in English, but it means “good structured mind”.
    A pleasure Hermann, regards.

  25. peter says:

    I took in twilight soon last night. A bit corny. Does not live up to the expectation.the same humdrum motions as its predecessor . I liked the first part better.
    You don’t spot much of acting expect a bunch of talenless poses by some muscle tuned up fellows. The movie has nothing to offer.basically, it lacks the originality ,and fails to build the suspense that audience look for in such movies.to me, it was an effort to sit it through.

    But, it just me. For you, it may make the sap rising(LoL)

    Jeff, definitly your sense of humor has rubbed off on me.And if you look more closely a pigment of your knowledge starting to rub off on us. Don’t you Think?

    A pigment from you is like an ocean to me(LoL)

  26. peter says:

    My dearest profs Jeff and lucy

    Do we have audiences or not?
    I know we say : you are not my audience. You don’t say you are not my audiences

    So,is it right grammitically to say that audience look for
    Or it must go like : that audience looks for
    Or maybe that audiences look for
    Which one is right?

  27. peter says:

    All the funny stuff aside, you guys helped me reach the point of no return.thanks guys
    With you help, I belive I am almost there
    But, still no dare to claim that English is my thing
    Not there yet,but it is difinitly a to-be.

  28. Daniele says:

    Thank you Emiliano. I always read with pleasure what you write down.
    I like you. I got the feeling that you are a really intelligent person and a good father and husband.
    I liked your picture about Spaniard. It can also be used for us Italians.
    Way to go! bye

  29. emiliano says:

    Thank you very much Daniele, you are really very kind. I like to write very much, some times too much writing but I have a very good time reading, writing and having in touch we all the friends.
    I think this place is a very nice Blog to share our feelings and ideas and to me is pure therapy that have good effects along all the days.
    Always I have to be grateful to Lucy and Jeff by doing just this, and all their incredible teaching.

    Yes Daniele, I think that spaniards and italians are alike in so many ways, but I like much more your accent. Italian language is marvelous. It sounds incredible well to my hears.
    I can listen to Italian when I see and listen OPERA, Verdi, Rossini, Donizetti, Pucini….and many others.
    Cuca and me use to see the DVD Operas in the big screen we have at home, and now we visit quite a lot of theaters round the world because every saturday we are in a different city watching Opera from home.
    Do you know that Donizetti was born the same day than me?. I like his Operas so much that I am very proud being born same day that
    this genial musician of the Bell Canto.
    And what to say about Rossini?. or Verdi? Much better really impossible.
    Next saturday we are going to see Falstalf once more, may be the only Verdi´s comedy as He use to do more tragedies.

    Do you like the Opera, Daniele?. May be I am wrong but I think that all italians have to like the Opera very much, but it is possible
    that is not so, like with us about the Flamenco that not all spaniards like it very much.

    Best regards.

  30. Peter says:

    Audience seek out sounds more right to me than audience look for

  31. Frank Chan says:

    The swine flu so serious all over the world including China. There are vaccines in our country already, but the number of vaccine have not already enough to give everyone flu shot. On the other side, some people doubt whether the vaccine are safe or not.

  32. Frank Chan says:

    Peter, i would want to know where are you from? Which country? You are a prettty guy. Jeff and Lucy are a teacher, seems like you are a assistant I think, a good assistant.

  33. Frank Chan says:

    Dear melja,
    what do you mean that you have a swine politics flu. I am confused.

  34. roberto says:

    Hello everybody!

    I´m agree with Lanter Herman when he says that there is no evidence that the vaccination has caused health damage and it´s elemental to prevent illness. But, I understand Emiliano when he talks about how the Spanish Goverment has informed on their citizens: my work is considered by Goverment a risk group, it means that we have priority to get swine flue vaccine, but the doctors of my work said to us that they aren´t going to put the vaccine because it has not been tested enough (a vaccine must tested in more time, they said). Howewer, these doctors explained that the number of the people dead by virus H1N1 were lower than by season flue…
    Really, I don´t understand anything and, finally, I have decided to avoid the swine flue vaccine. By the way, don´t worry Emiliano because all of us have this doubt. and I´m sure your decission will be the right.

    In reference to neckties, I will try to wash them more times…

    Best regards.

  35. Peter says:

    Dear Jeff and Luccy,

    I ‘v just listened to you describe various fabric patterns on 531. Perfect ,love it. very practical and useful.
    I ‘v always wanted to know.

    Indeed you filled up my measery-striken life with swaches of happiness. ( at a moment’s notice thing)

    I believe we can use “upholster” as a verb as well .like the way we use “reupholster”,don’t we?

  36. Peter says:

    Today .I got both flu shot ,and H1N1(swine flue) shot. Good thing is ,the government here render the service for free. It is a good gesture/move on their part ,since the endowment makes it possible for everybody to practice a good hygiene.I got to hand it to the local government for all the good deeds they do for the welfare of people.

    They are good ,they really are .

    In all fairness ,Canad is a very good country to grow old in.

  37. Peter says:

    Dear Frank Chan,

    I wish,

    Thaks for the kind comment. I have been living in Canada long enough( 7ish years) to see myself as a canadian.However,if you are asking for my origin. I am a naturalized Canadian citizen born in Iran. By that I mean, I was born in Iran ,and I moved here about 7 years ago. My dear friend, I wish my English was good enough to be their assistance, but I am still having a long way ahead of me. I am just a student trying to wrap my head around this language.

    It is my pipedream ( thanks to Lucy) to be their assistance my friend.

    Again, I really appreciate you for the nice comment. But, I haven’t gathered the guts yet to confirm your generously nice words.

  38. Peter says:

    Dear Frank,

    I maybe everything,but ,Definitly I am not a pretty guy. On the contrarary ,I have very coarse features.Better to say too coarse featurs(LoL0

  39. Cook says:

    I did the vaccine one hours ago and I felt sick right now.
    The doctor thought it’s ok. Hopefully I will not get the flu because of the injection.

  40. Frank Chan says:

    Dear Peter:
    Thanks for your reply.
    I would study Enlish as you do in Eslpod.com
    It is very nice knowing of you.

  41. Frank Chan says:

    And I would want to know when i can speak English good as you all.

  42. Frank Chan says:

    Dear Peter, “coarse features“? what is that for you?

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