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Swine flu scare: Demand for anti-bacterial products rises
By Nouf Hassan Ghaznawi
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 19 - 10 - 2009

Pharmacies in the Kingdom are witnessing a huge demand on anti-bacterial products due to the swine flu panic among the Saudi society.
During the first few days of the new school year, pharmacies in Saudi cities have sold a huge number of bacteria cleaning products in order to meet demands of the people, particularly the families for finding ways to avoid swine flu virus.
“During the first three days of school I sold at least 150 anti-bacterial bottles other than the wet napkins and the spray cleaners for parents who purchased a huge number of these products to meet the needs of their children's daily use,” said Taher Saeed, a pharmacist in Jeddah.
Hind Edrees, a mother of 9 years old student, is getting panicky from fear that her daughter will be infected with H1N1 virus in her school. “I told my daughter all about the swine flue and what she should do in terms of self-protection in hygiene like to cover her mouth while sneezing, etc. I also give her a anti-bacterial and wet wipes to use them each time she uses a toilet or before and after meals in school,” said Edrees.
According to Dr. Hanadi Mohammed from a maternity school, using the anti-bacterial products is important for stopping the virus from spreading.
“Anti-bacterial products are an important step to stop the virus from spreading but its not the solution; it is just a precaution and families should not rely on it only thinking that it's the only way to avoid the virus,” said Mohammed. Hadi Saeed, a pharmacist from Makkah, said “the parents started to buy commercial brands after the well-known names like Dettol finished from the market.” “I went to the pharmacy the night before schools started, and I couldn't find any anti-bacterial product. The pharmacist told me that he sold over a hundred bottle in the morning and by 6 P.M. the pharmacy was out of these products,” said Tayeb.
According to Reena, although the school is providing anti-bacterial hand gel, but almost every student is having her own gel. Al-Shaimaa Mashat, a mother of two small children, said that she thinks that packing such products with her kids daily can cause panic and uncalled for fear to her kids from getting the flu. “I didn't send any of those hygiene things with my kids as the school had informed us that they would take all the needed precautions for our children. I think if we educate our children about the personal hygiene that can help them to avoid the flu,” Said Al. Shaimaa.
Azza Abubakur, a sociologist at King Abdulaziz University, thinks that packing the anti-bacterial products suddenly with children schoolbags cannot change anything in their habits. “We should leave our children to learn the cleaning habits from their school as well as the rest of students in order to get used to apply it in the future in daily basis.” said Abubakur.


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