Beyond the flu this season, a new bug is brewing to add to your list of health care worries -- a drug-resistant superbug gene, dubbed NDM-1, which is thought to have originated in India.
It causes everything from diarrhea to urinary tract infections, and most concerning is the fact that it doesn't respond to antibiotics.
Only three cases of the superbug have been confirmed in the United Sates, and all three individuals were treated and are fine now.
While experts say it can have more serious, even deadly, effects, there's no need for widespread alarm about it at this point. They say people can do their part to prevent its spread by practicing proper hygiene -- basically good old hand washing -- and by avoiding unnecessary antibiotics.
But one crafty company is capitalizing (or at least trying to capitalize) on our paranoid tendencies by promoting its face masks so we can all save our families from the bug.
They promise to be adept at "shielding your family from infirmity and death."
And not just that, they do it in style -- they're Fashion Face Masks. They come in models adorned with everything from pink polka dots to sequins to palm trees, and thankfully, monogramming is available.
No one should be shielded from death in anything but the best, right? Generic germ fighting is so passe.
Not only does the company's press release promote the masks for the holidays, they actually suggest that your child wear one to school.
" ... children are more susceptible to illness due to their weaker immune systems, Fashion Face Masks are the ideal products to wear at school -- a natural bacteria breeding ground."
I'm sure that would go over well.
Likely, the company probably has a whole warehouse of these masks left over from the H1N1 scare and is trying to re-purpose them and unload them, but playing on parents' fears like this is low. And the thought of people actually wearing these designs is laughable.
How worried are you about this new superbug virus? Would you ever buy these masks for your family?