The latest trend in swine flu fashion

As the H1N1 or “swine flu” virus spreads across the globe, it seems as if many people living in Russia are taking extreme measures to protect themselves.

Flu medicine and face masks are selling like hot cakes across the country, and more than 30 million people have been vaccinated against flu in Russia.

Pharmacist Larisa Antipova says that, “Looking at how demand for certain drugs has grown, we can tell that people are very worried about the flu. They have been buying masks, as well as oxolinic ointment, and anti-viral medications. People buy them more often and in larger quantities.”

Beyond traditional medicines, some are even turning to a more homeopathic approach, eating garlic and lemons and trying to stay away from public transportation.

No matter the method, protection for some is big business for others.

“Of course we make more money at times like this – when people are afraid of the epidemic,” agrees pharmacist Antipova.

The idea of swine flu has captured the world’s attention on such a scale that it has even entered into the world of high fashion.

If surgical masks clash with your choice of clothing, one ingenious individual has come up with the answer. Up-and-coming fashion designer Antonina Shapovalova has chosen swine flu as her latest artistic inspiration.

“At first we just wanted to surprise everyone, put on a mask and walk around wearing it. I myself was sick, lost my voice, and had the flu for two weeks. And I decided to make a fun mask for myself,” recalls Shapovalova.

It has become more than fun, as Shapovalova sees there is a market for her work.

“In the metro, I prefer a mask with a picture of an animal, usually а tiger or а leopard,” boasts the designer. “I forgot my animal mask the other day, so I had to wear a regular one from a drugstore, and it just did not feel right.”

Shapovalova suggests that just because masks are medical in nature, it does not mean that function should outclass form.

“It is a good thing to wear masks. Healthy people wear them in order to stay healthy, and those who are sick do a good thing wearing those masks and protecting others,” believes Shapovalova. “And now they will have a chance to wear something pretty and fun.”

“A mask is neither a lucky-charm nor a 100% guarantee means of protection. It is not a ritual mask – it is just a protective mask,” reminds Sergey Eremin, coordinator of international medical and sanitary regulations, from the Russian office of the World Health Organization.

“It is more essential, in my opinion, to watch the hygiene of your hands. It is much more important to avoid touching your face, eyes and nose with your hands,” he concludes.

Read also – Flu Causes Hysterical Euphoria in Moscow