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Amazon's top 'health' sellers? Surgical masks

A quick perusal of Amazon's top sellers in the health and personal care store shows that various face masks occupy the first three places. Are people scared?

I don't know if the Mexican swine flu, which may or may not have come from Mexico or have anything to do with pigs, will wipe us all out.

But I do know that people are scared.

How do I know? A simple perusal of's health and personal-care store.

Amazon is often an extraordinary barometer for people's feelings. A singer dies, his music is off the charts. Or, more accurately, up the charts. An author dies, and her words suddenly have new meaning for the world at large. Or, more accurately, new sales.

So it is worth considering what the presence of surgical masks in all of the top three positions on this Amazon best-seller list means for humanity.

I couldn't find this mask on Amazon, but it's very fetching. CC Hmerinomx/Flickr

It seems that fear has gripped us so much that we are prepared to spend $21 on the "N95 Particulate Respirators Surgical, Swine FLU & Dust Mask, 10/ Pack" when it only has a lowly three-star review.

We are also resigned to spending almost $40 on the "3M - N95 Respirator/Flu Mask, 20 Pack," though it, too, seems only to be worth three stars.

However, our cost-consciousness drives to put at No. 1 the "Disposable EARLOOP Face MASK, Filters Bacteria 3 Ply - (Box of 50)", for a mere $19 and, perhaps, grant it four and a half stars.

I fear, however, that the fear doesn't stop there.

In fourth place is the "Omron HJ-112 Digital Pocket Pedometer." Are we preparing to flee our lands? Are we girding our mental loins for a trek that might last days, months, centuries?

There is further evidence of that possibility. Because at No. 5 is "Clif Builder's Bar, Protein Bar, 2.4-Ounce Bars for $17.08." Isn't that the stuff mountaineers always have with them, in case they get lost for months?

I won't even dwell on the fact that, while diapers still cling to No. 7, blood pressure monitors are lurking at No. 9.

I can offer only one small ray of hope (other than the fact that scientists don't seem too perturbed by the whole thing): down there at No. 23 is the "Braun 5270 Silk-epil X'elle Body System Epilator."

At least some people are still understanding the importance of surface smoothness.