The days are shorter, growing cold with the arctic wind. Schools, workplaces, places of worship become emptier of people. They disappear without warning for days- weeks at a time- and return harried and exhausted. Families drop from sight like flies into a vinegar bowl. Others walk about in a daze, emitting strange and frightening sounds. Rasping, gasping, barking reptilian dogs. Once resonating voices are muffled and nasal. What has happened? Is this some science fiction surreality become reality? Every year it happens this way. It sweeps across the populace, attacking young and old, great and small. Months of misery brought on by the cold and clouds only to retreat from the healing rays of warmth in the late spring.
Our parents, school teachers, newscasters, and health officials have taught us how we can avoid catching and spreading this scourge. Regular, vigorous hand washing (with liquid antibacterial soap because germs love bar soap), use of a tissue to catch mucous (both dripping and projected), sneeze and/or cough into the elbow or shoulder if a tissue is not available, designate a personal drinking glass (this is one time not to share), open windows for fresh air when weather permits, beware contact with one's own face by one's hands, use paper towels in the kitchen rather than cloth, and avoiding the known infected and/or those most susceptible to catching one's own disease. Yet, this epidemic continues to return with its insurgency, weakening most and claiming the mortality of others. Few are left unmolested.
If one is ill, or even suspects oneself of malady or are regularly in contact with one(s) afflicted, I entreat these to act with discretion and restraint. This year, let us attempt clean practices. 'Fight the fine fight' of health that we might stave off this terrible sickness from ourselves and our loved ones.
Copyright November 2010