The swine flu pandemic doesn’t just mean we’re all washing our hands more and carrying around sanitized wipes. It’s actually having some strange side effects around the world. Here are the top four unexpected ways swine flu is changing the world from MSN Health and Fitness.
- Swine flu is changing religious practices that are centuries old. This year children under 12 and the elderly were all banned from taking part in the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca because of swine flu. In Spain and Italy, Roman Catholics have been asked not to kiss the statues of saints. In Churches all over the world, priests are putting away the wine and bread at communion and emptying the holy water. Many religious leaders are also opting to give congregants a “fist bump” at the end of services, instead of the traditional handshake.
- Swine flu is killing the pork industry. Almost 30 countries have banned pork products from the U.S because they’re afraid of swine flu. It’s gotten so bad for pig farmers that the government has had to bail them out. There’s a real irony here: it’s totally impossible to catch swine flu from pig products, and there’s been exactly ZERO cases of infected pigs in the United States.
- It’s completely destroyed the Mexican tourism industry. The first cases of swine flu came from Mexico, and right afterwards the Centers For Disease Control recommended a travel ban. Well the ban only lasted three weeks, and now the World Health Organization says it’s as safe to travel to Mexico as it is anywhere else. However, the damage is done. According to BBC News, Mexico saw the biggest drop in tourism since they started keeping track in the 80’s.
- The most unexpected side effect of the swine flu? People are actually GETTING the flu shot! A couple years ago, so many people DIDN’T get vaccinated that 18 million doses were thrown out. According to a new poll, this year about 65% of people say they’ll line up for the shot.