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The Office, Pam demonstrating the vampire sneezeThe TV show The Office last night used one of my flu fighting techniques almost exactly and then made a nice comic argument against it. Pam, in the opening scene, did a formal lecture presentation to the assembled office personnel on how to prevent the spread of flu. Part of her talk was a demonstration of how to suppress a sneeze by putting her elbow against the front of her face while sneezing. This maneuver she called the Vampire Sneeze. This technique is exactly what I proposed in my blog, Reducing the flu threat for everyone, Rule #2, where I gave a much longer and more thorough description of the how and why of the technique, but the basic idea and method she introduced was identical. The opposing idea was presented by Dwight Schrute, who in his super-serious comic way insisted that people are better off if they intentionally expose themselves to germs. Using that method they develop a healthy immune response to life’s various pathogens. The office crew takes him at his word and helps him out by purposefully sneezing directly in his face and in one particularly disgusting bit practically throwing up onto a piece of toast Dwight was about to eat. Without any camera cutaway the actor ate the toast, with a bit of disgusting grimace – carrying his thespian duties to the max.

A list of my standalone posts about flu from www.probaway.wordpress.com

  1. The original 1994 – Probaway – flu
  2. Cure the common cold with 102° voluntary fevers.
  3. Cure for the comon cold is six 102 degree fevers.
  4. My flu germs are doing better than I am.
  5. My flu germs are doing much better than I am.
  6. My treatment of today’s flu worked okay.
  7. A cure for the common cold using 105° F baths.
  8. Reducing the flu threat for everyone.
  9. Berkeley Avian Influenza Conference.
  10. A cure for the bird-flu ! ?
  11. Flu recommendations from the medicine men.
  12. I have cured the H1N1 flu – hurrah – maybe
  13. Temperature triggers biological responses.
  14. Prevent the common cold with capsaicin.
  15. Seasonal flu – infectivity, susceptibility, humidity, transmission, infections.

Each of those are standalone posts so they repeat the basic materials but each has a new observation.

The sneeze into the elbow did not exist when I was a kid and we were told to sneeze and blow snot into a handkerchief. But later that was redefined as just stored up germs for later distribution and people were encouraged by clever Madison Avenue advertising to switch to Kleenex ©. The rational was that every time you took the handkerchief out it spread germs even if you didn’t sneeze. We were taught that after one has a cold it is better to blow snot into their paper napkins and dispose of them in a flush toilet. But a sneeze usually comes on too quickly for that maneuver and the point of sneezing into the left elbow is to prevent the fine mist from entering the common air which everyone must breath. Okay so far, but go read my posts above for much better flu coping techniques.

The rest of this particular episode of The Office, The Baptism, was unrelated to this opening scene and each of the characters played out their usual pathetic pathologies to entertain us. But for me, the best part was the sneeze scene because it was informative.

Watched carefully, there are things to be learned from TV.