My sister-in-law was ill with the flu a few weeks ago and needed to get back on her feet quickly to go back to work. My immediate response was to encourage her to ask her doctor for Tamiflu which is a drug that works to treat the inconvenient symptoms of the flu virus. But does the convenience of symptom solving drugs create a future of inconveniences? According to chapters eight through ten the answer is probably.
Being a History major, I like to apply everything we learn in class to where it might fit most appropriately on a historical timeline. As nerdy as this may make me the biggest event I could associate with these readings was the Black Death. A disease spread through massive population shifts to urban environments and through the transmission of rats the plague was one of the most deadly events in human history. Of course, people of that time believe that the plague was a punishment bestowed by God. Now we are able to determine the spread of disease that facilitate events like these. This also holds true for the increase in disease as a result of the industrial revolution that the chapters mention. Closer contact with animals and people, the settling of towns, and changes in diets are all factors that increase the spread of disease.
These events bring us to today. We still have epidemics like the most recent flu which claimed multiple lives this year. It makes me wonder that if epidemics of the past claimed nearly a third of the population (black death) is it better to treat just the symptoms so that we can quickly return to our day to day activities or should we let our bodies natural response take over. Personally, I think drugs like Tamiflu and Dayquil should be used in moderation although I am certainly guilty of overusing them in an attempt to go to work or school sooner. Maybe I should take a dose of my own “natural” medicine instead.