When the H1N1 flu, also known as the swine flu, emerged in Mexico back in April, here in Gaza we thought we were out of reach of this pandemic as the strip is one of the most isolated places in the world.
Yet, 4 days ago, the ministry of health in the de facto government in Gaza, confirmed that 5 cases of H1N1 were diagnosed.
Since then all what the Gazans has been talking about is the flu. At schools, the students were given masks for protection and lectured about the precautions.
As the flu reached us after months of its outbreak in many parts of the world, I’ve found that the people have a very high sense of awareness.
Today, I was going to grab my snack, so I went to a close grocery. I was surprised that the owners have printed out sheets of the H1N1 symptoms and measures of protection. There is a sense of panic; Gaza lacks adequate medical care when it comes to the very basic treatment of very regular diseases, so there are fears of an outbreak. I heard a doctor saying that many people were told they had the regular flu, yet potentially they had the swine flu. But maybe there was misdiagnose.
Two weeks ago, my family and I were infected by a very severe flu. As a matter of fact, many Gazans had been inflicted by a wave of flu, but they were treated with regular medicine given in the known flu. But since the health department announced that H1N1 is in Gaza, the people now suspect anyone that is coughing or sneezing is actually “got swined”. Many people created some sort of an expression to imply “H1N1 positive” by “you got swined”. This is the best translation I could think of.
Finally, since the announcement, the people got frenzy about getting their share of Anise as it is vital to heal and protect oneself of this flu.
And surely, many retailers are making advantage of this situation; the prices of anise have soared like never before. A kilo of Anise used to cost roughly a dollar, now it reached almost 3 dollars, and the prices are expected to soar more.
Moreover, the sells of the hand sanitizer, also known as ‘Hygeen”, have also soared dramatically.
It is appeasing to know that people are cautious and protective. I hope that Gaza will not witness an outbreak of this flu. So far four cases died. But still with caution not panic, Gaza will recover this In God’s willing.