Swine Flu Serum & Other Snake Oil Products

I’ve often said it’s a shame the criminals who invent scams don’t use their mental capacities to create something that would benefit humanity. Now I’m coming to the conclusion that they are incapable of such things.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) has raised the worldwide pandemic alert for the H1N1 flu to phase 6 – indicating the flu is at its worst.

Before you start to panic, remember that while thousands have caught the flu, only a handful have died… and in most of those cases, the victims were not in the best of health to begin with. Here’s some more information to help you understand this outbreak.

For us common folks, it seemed silly when, a few weeks ago, the CDC announced that the flu had nothing to do with pigs and began calling it the Novel H1N1 virus. It stopped sounding silly to me when I heard that some governments were ordering the slaughter of all pigs and advising people to not eat pork. That was bad news for those investors who deal in pork bellies.

To get to the truth, I went to the source. Here is what the CDC has to say about the swine (oops!) I meant to say H1N1 virus.

“This virus was originally referred to as “swine flu” because laboratory testing showed that many of the genes in this new virus were very similar to influenza viruses that normally occur in pigs in North America. But further study has shown that this new virus is very different from what normally circulates in North American pigs. It has two genes from flu viruses that normally circulate in pigs in Europe and Asia and avian genes and human genes. Scientists call this a “quadruple reassortant” virus.”

They went on to tell us we need to be more concerned with shaking a farmer’s hand than with petting his pig. We cannot catch this flu by being around, or eating, pork products. That statement will certainly save somebody’s bacon.

So, what can we do to protect ourselves? Thoroughly wash our hands on a regular basis and stay away from anyone with flu symptoms.

Read this next statement from the CDC very carefully. “There is no vaccine available right now to protect against novel H1N1 virus. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza.”

Let me repeat the beginning of that statement: There is NO vaccine available right now.

In most cases this flu is no different than any other. The symptoms are very similar and the best cure is bed rest. There have been very few deaths attributed to this outbreak in the United States because flu sufferers have quickly sought medical attention and followed the doctor’s orders.

For the complete rundown on Novel H1N1, visit the CDC’s web site.

I went into more detail on this flu bug than I’d planned, but once I got into it I wanted to clear up as many of the misconceptions as I could.

However, my sole purpose in discussing it at all was to introduce my subject for today: the swine who try to make a living by taking advantage of honest hard-working people.

I heard on the news this morning that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent out hundreds of letters to the owners of web sites – those pigs who are trying to sell vaccines and other remedies for the Novel H1N1 (swine) flu. Remember what the CDC stated? There is NO vaccine.

We’ve had snake oil peddlers for as long as there have been humans roaming around this planet. My guess is that the serpent who convinced Eve to take a bite of that apple was the first charlatan. Since that time, these folks have represented a small percentage of our total population, but they’ve always been there… and probably always will be there.

My Internet Service Provider filters out the SPAM from my email, but I check it out on a regular basis because there are times when it snags legitimate messages.

I regularly receive offers for discounted medications, sexual enhancement products, fake diplomas, and knock-off watches, purses, and other designer items.

SPAM is practically the same as junk mail delivered by the Postal Service. The main difference is that prayer cloths, return address labels, and various other free gifts cannot be delivered electronically.

I look at the opportunity to ‘earn’ an advanced degree diploma as an absolute joke. I wouldn’t dream of trying to get a high paying job based on a worthless piece of paper. I also have no desire to buy a replica Rolex watch regardless of the bargain basement price.

Obviously, there are many others who feel differently.

I look at the junk mail and wonder why these companies bother. Then I come to the simple conclusion – people fall for it. They send in their checks and money orders and either get cheaply made products in return, or lose their cash entirely as that company ceases doing business… under that name.

The same thing happens with the SPAM. If a certain percentage of the population didn’t fall for the scams, the crooks would stop sending out the emails. Obviously, the criminals are making – NO! change that to ‘TAKING” money.

Sadly, many of the patsies are elderly people living on fixed incomes. Others are either trying to save money or knowingly buying fake designer items to impress their friends and relatives.

The only ones I don’t feel sorry for are the people acting out of greed. The people who invest their money with people like Madoff because they are promised unbelievable returns deserve what they get. If that statement offends some people, too bad.

Common sense says hoping to get anywhere near a ten percent return on an investment is foolish. To expect fifteen, twenty, or an even higher percentage return is stupidity. Of course, those who fall for those schemes are usually the people with greater wealth to begin with. Perhaps we should see Madoff as a modern Robin Hood. Wait! He didn’t give anything to the poor. Forget that comparison.

It’s time to bring this to a close. After all these years, I’ve finally come to the conclusion that the snake oil salespersons will always be with us and, sadly, will never make any effort to earn an honest dollar.

So. Beware of the swine who try to take advantage of every scary thing in the news. And tell your friends to lay in a supply of chicken soup and ginger ale. If they get the flu symptoms, they should stay home.

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2 Responses to Swine Flu Serum & Other Snake Oil Products

  1. Mind if I use some of the information from this post if I provide a link back to your site?

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