The common cold, influenza, and immunity in post-pandemic times: lay representations of self and other among older people in Sweden
2015 (English)In: Health, Culture and Society, ISSN 1551-7136, E-ISSN 1175-0928, Vol. 8, no 2, 46-59 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The need for new knowledge about lay representations of contagions, immunity, vaccination, common colds, and influenza has become clear after the A(H1N1) pandemic and the resulting challenges regarding pandemic preparedness. This article analyzes written responses from 67 persons, mostly women, to a semi-structured questionnaire about colds and the flu. Three themes are discussed: “Common cold and flus as ritualized experiences”, “Me, my body, and my immune defense”, and “Regulations of space, place, and behaviors.” Overall, the narratives were about trust, value, and respect in the body, in lived experiences, and in the capacity to ‘help’ and ‘nurture’ the immune system, but also about the feeling of powerlessness when perceiving inadequacies in other people’s parallel interpretations and actions. Pandemic preparedness policies need to acknowledge the multiple ‘immunity talk’ in the responses to create productive, ongoing relations with the ‘Other’, that rely on people’s trust and resilience, rather than on people´s fear.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015. Vol. 8, no 2, 46-59 p.
common cold, influenza, immune system, pandemics, Sweden
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy Ethnology
Research subject Ethnology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-112459DOI: 10.5195/hcs.2015.200OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-112459DiVA: diva2:877949
ProjectsEpidemics, Vaccination, and the Power of Narratives
FunderMarcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation, 2012.0097