Monthly Archives: February 2013

Don’t Spread It Around


As you may have noticed, I’ve been MIA from these pages. Although I did take a little break from writing, the past couple of weeks has been spent battling a terrible, knock you off your feet virus. Not the flu mind you, but the granddaddy of virus as far as I’m concerned.  It hit this household furiously and relentlessly and literally took all the mojo right out of me for two solid, agonizing weeks.  It really has been a struggle being so sick while caring for my sick child who also got hit hard with it and my husband unable to be here to assist in any way.  Needless to say, I had my hands full. But finally we are getting well and I am very glad of that.

And now that we’re on the mend, I just have to get a few things off my chest that really bugs me about the “bugs” that go around.  What is it that annoys me about them?  The fact that they get spread around…and around….and around.  All because people are not thinking, not caring or not using a little common sense and wisdom.  It’s simply selfishness or stupidity or both and I’m done being nice about it.  If this article offends anyone, I’m truly sorry. But sometimes the truth hurts. It’s time for a reality check, folks. It’s high time someone smacked people awake and told them to wise up and stop being stupid.  Quite simply…..Keep your germs to yourself!  DON’T SPREAD IT AROUND!

A bit harsh, you think?  NO!  It’s not.  If it seems I have an attitude…well…I do.  If you’d seen what I’ve seen from this lack of thought or concern for others, you would too.  I’ve seen it make my own baby so sick at just a few months of age that it warranted drastic measures. I’ve noted the times it has put relatives, who are already dealing with chronic health issue, become bedridden or be put in the hospital on heavy meds for weeks. I’ve watched it put unborn babies at risk and I’ve sat back helplessly as it has landed elderly people in the hospital and even worse.  And frankly, I am just fed up with it.

I know this post is longer than usual but please stick with it to the end.  You may learn something.

Here’s a few facts for you.

(1.) Viral and bacterial germs can live outside the body, on surfaces for several minutes, hours, days and even a couple of weeks?  This is according to several sources, including the Mayo Clinic.  They can live on hard, non-porous surfaces such as stone, glass, porcelain, ceramics, plastics and metal. They also can live on soft, porous surfaces such as skin, hair, clothing, upholstery, wood and paper goods.

A man mid-sneeze. Original CDC caption: "...

A man mid-sneeze. Original CDC caption: “This 2009 photograph captured a sneeze in progress, revealing the plume of salivary droplets as they are expelled in a large cone-shaped array from this man’s open mouth, thereby dramatically illustrating the reason one needs to cover his/her mouth when coughing, or sneezing, in order to protect others from germ exposure.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(2.) When we sneeze or cough unfiltered and openly, tiny droplets of bodily fluids containing hundreds of illness causing germs can travel up to 3 or more feet away, landing on every surface and person within their reach. Let’s get real here.  As meticulous and careful as you may be, some sneezes and coughs just get away from you. Even sneezing or coughing into your elbow means that those germs are on your arm sleeve which may be touched by someone or something.

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Everytime you go out in public (even for a short time) when you’re obviously sick or experiencing non-allergy related symptoms such as sore throat, sneezing, congestion, coughing, feverish or with intestinal symptoms, you are exposing more people than you can imagine to your illness.  Some of them could be infants, small children, pregnant women, the elderly or someone with a compromised immune system.  And this can be very dangerous for them. That little irritating bug that’s nagging you could cost someone dearly.  Hand washing is great and I highly recommend it, but it’s not enough.  Not nearly enough. There has to be some accountability here.

Are you getting a bigger picture yet?  Well, let me get more nitty-gritty with it, just in case you aren’t.

When you’re sick or experiencing symptoms of illness….

DON’T go in to workWHY NOT?  By the end of the work day, you have exposed every co-worker, visitor to your work arena and person you’ve come directly and indirectly in contact with to those germs. That could be upwards to 100+ people.  And those people carry those germs home to their families and countless other people. If you’re in the food service or customer care industries, those numbers increase even higher. You have potentially infected hundreds of people.

DON’T go to churchWHY NOT?  Church is one of the worst places for catching these bugs from others. The close side by side quarters, shaking hands and hugs just insure that many will be exposed directly and indirectly. Example: When my son was 4 months old, a gentleman came to Sunday morning worship services when he was sick.  He purposely stayed clear of my son but then he gave my hubby a big, snot slinging, germ infested hug. Of course, hubby washed his hands right away, but the rest of him and his clothes were not free and clear.  My son ended up with a severe lung infection that resulted in him running a fever and struggling to breath, as we were forced to give our tiny, young baby strong meds and breathing treatments every few hours while monitoring him 24/7 until the threat was over weeks later.

For 3 solid years, every single time we attended church during cold and flu season, we ended up at the doctor’s office with my son, just a couple of days later.  At one such attendance, two people were there within 2-3 days of being diagnosed with Swine flu, exposing half a dozen infants and toddlers as well as adults and senior citizens. Seriously!?!  Talk about stupid, foolish behavior! It’s no joke, folks.  Your minor illness could be major to someone else. Your more severe illness could mean death for someone else.

None - This image is in the public domain and ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DON’T go to school or send your kids to school. WHY NOT?  Every single student, teacher and school staff member you directly come in contact with gets exposed.  Every surface you come in contact with indirectly exposes every other student or staff member who comes in contact with them for days or weeks later.  And they transfer those germs from one place or person to another.  So realistically, you could expose your entire school to the germs that are making you sick.

DON’T go to the store, the pharmacy, restaurant or other public place.  WHY NOT?  The potential to spread your germs around in public arenas such as these becomes multiplied many fold. You are sneezing or coughing on items and surfaces. You are touching items and surfaces.  Others come behind you touching those now contaminated items or surfaces. Then they touch other items or surfaces.  Remember these germs can survive for days or weeks on these surfaces.  They take some of those contaminated items home with them, where their family members also touch or get exposed to the germs you so freely shared. Your quick run to pick up a few things or get out for a little while results in hundreds of items and surfaces being contaminated and countless numbers of people having been exposed in a short period of time.

DON’T travel. Not by car, plane, bus, subway, train or cruise ship.  WHY NOT?  Haven’t you been paying attention?  Again, hundreds (maybe even thousands) of people exposed to the illness but this time it has the potential to travel hundreds of miles. How about these scenarios?  The person who just pumped gas minutes after you did, has a weakened immune system due to working long hours with little rest and your cold becomes double pneumonia for them. There’s a young father returning home from a business trip a couple of seat rows back who takes it back home to his pregnant wife and two small kids, who all get sick.  That lady beside you is going to visit her elderly parents and carries it to them and they get very sick.  The college student sitting on the bus nearby takes it back to his campus and dorm, plus that cut on his hand was infected by your germs.  See that woman sitting across from you on the subway?  She’s an oncology nurse, on her way to work.  She takes it to her chemotherapy patients (which could be fatal for them).  And I know you’ve likely heard on the news this week about the stranded cruise ship and how so many were sick with some illness that spread on the ship.

So are you seeing the impact your choices make?  While it may just be an annoyance and inconvenience for you, it literally could be life or death for someone else.

There’s only one DO in all this.  Quite simply…STAY HOME UNTIL YOUR ILLNESS, THE SYMPTOMS AND ALL CHANCE OF SPREADING IT AROUND ARE GONE! 

So what if you have to use some of your sick days up. That’s what they’re for. Not so you can take long weekends at random or build days up for a longer vacation or a bonus check at the end of the year.  Big deal if your child misses a few days of school and you have to deal with them being home. Better than the entire school closing for a few days because so many are sick. And really….You haven’t committed a sin if you miss a church service or two. God understands….and He would tell you the same thing I am.  And honestly, is that shopping trip, planned outing, or that jaunt to wherever really worth sharing your illness with the world at large?  Seriously folks, you really have to think outside of yourself, you wants or your needs on this one.  Because it really is that important.

 If I’ve struck a nerve or upset you, so be it.  If these words can help people to get it and it spares one person unnecessary misery or grief, it’s worth it.  Once you really think about it, I hope you will see the entire picture more clearly.

English: Original description: "This full...

English: Original description: “This full color 17″x22″ poster is planned for use in doctor’s offices, clinics, other healthcare facilities, and media outlets. It is intended to raise awareness about appropriate antibiotic use for upper respiratory infections in adults. It explains that antibiotics are not the best answer for a cold or flu.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BTW, in case you didn’t know…. antibiotics are not effective against viruses. Taking them does not mean you are not contagious nor does it speed up recovery.  You shouldn’t ask for them for viruses and doctors should not be prescribing them for viruses  either. Viruses must run their course (usually 7-10 days) and all you can do is stay hydrated and nourished, rest as much as possible and take OTC meds to relieve some of the symptoms.  Remember, just because you feel better does not mean you are completely well. So don’t go acting like a kid and think, “I feel better so let’s go here or let’s go do that.”

Until next time….stay well and for goodness sake, stay home if you are not well.

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