Tag. You’re it!
Let’s talk about disease transmission!
Better not. Your life could depend on it!
Oh, sure. Hopefully, you have mastered not sneezing into someone’s face…but there’s more!
While this flu season has not been declared and epidemic – yet – the numbers are staggering, and not only are the seniors succumbing to the flu, but healthy young children – and even young athletic adults are DYING! I can’t wipe the faces of the recent healthy victims from my mind.
It’s so sad when I think about it.
At this point, it’s important to share this challenging flu season is expected to last another 13 weeks! It is NOT too late to get your flu shot. While this year’s vaccine is reported to be approximately 30% effective, it can still be helpful in reducing your symptoms if you fall victim to a flu strain not specifically targeted by the shot. It does take two weeks to achieve full protection from the shot, so time is of the essence.
Additionally, many of my friends are actually experiencing more than one infection – simultaneously! Running to the bathroom with a Norovirus and thinking it’s the flu, then going to the ER only to find out they also have double pneumonia – with no symptoms!
Contrary to what you might think, a virus or a bacteria’s sole mission in life is NOT to kill you. Think about it. You are the host – their home – and they don’t want to burn down their home. What they want to do is MULTIPLY – pure and simple. Keep their species viable; alive and well. As long as you are alive, they are pretty happy feeding off of you.
If you can assist them in spreading their whereabouts, all the better! Go ahead. Sneeze. Cough. Touch a doorknob a sick person touched. Put your contaminated hand to your nose, eyes, or mouth and… Tag! You’re it!
These micro-organisms do all kinds of crazy things to stay alive. When conditions become unfavorable for their survival, for instance, some form spores. Spores are like time capsules full of DNA instructions and materials that – some day or century – when conditions once again become favorable to grow, multiply, and flourish, they will spring back to life. Presto!
What to do?
Citizens in Asia understand the importance of wearing paper face masks. While both my husband and I are healthy, I am going to buy a box of face masks on my next trip out to the store, just in case. I’ll wear one to prevent spreading disease to my husband – sure. Out in public? Well… Maybe we can start a trend in America. It’s only a matter of time before we wise up in the face of an epidemic.
What we need to do is wear dog cone collars to stop us from touching our eyes, nose, or mouth! As ridiculous as that seems, hold that vision in your mind for a minute.
Just count the number of times you touch your face. Better yet, count the number of times someone else touches his/her face. I don’t know what it is; but just why do we do it? Making sure we haven’t lost our face?
It’s a terrible habit. Our faces contain the three most important portals into our bodies: our eyes, nose, and mouth.
Door knobs, elevator buttons, table tops, electronic devices, gym equipment…the list goes on. Anything we touch can be the temporary residing place for the micro-organisms someone else put there through their touch, cough, or sneeze. We touch that contaminated surface and what is it we do all the time with our hands? Touch our faces. Eyes. Nose. Mouth.
Tag. You’re it.
The norovirus that attacks digestive systems, is particularly determined to find a fresh host. Even though you have stopped throwing up or having diarrhea (or both) and you think you are out of the woods – think again.
You are like a walking Typhoid Annie.
You are CONTAGIOUS for at least TWO WEEKS. These little noroviruses are still living inside your intestines and colon even when you feel “better.”
You may have been extra careful washing your hands after hanging over the commode, puking your guts out, but now? How about after a round of diarrhea? Of course you scrubbed your hands! But now that you are well?
There is no other way to say this: our poop is STILL contaminated after we get well! If the “stomach flu” is racing through your family or through your child’s classroom, it’s because of germ-filled poopy hands touching things. Those things get touched by those who, not wearing a human version of a doggy cone collar, are touching their faces. It’s what people tend to do.
SCRUB your hands after visiting the restroom EVEN when you are well, and stop touching your face!
Well, how are we supposed to wash our hands you ask? I was waiting for that question. Let me cut and paste a segment from my up-coming book about tips for home caregivers of loved ones:
“We all think we know how to wash our hands. In a caregiving environment, extra attention needs to be given to hand washing techniques.
Here are the steps:
- Turn the water on to a comfortably warm temperature and wet your hands
- Apply a squirt of hand soap onto your wet hands
- Start humming the “Happy Birthday“ song at a normal tempo two times through during the washing phase; that should translate to 20 seconds which is how long you are supposed to be rubbing those soapy hands
- Rubbing the palms together, create a good lather
- Continue rubbing, moving to the back side of the hands, around the wrist, and between your fingers
- Scrape your fingertips along the palm of the opposite hand, driving the suds under your nails. Repeat for the other hand.
- You have finished humming “Happy Birthday” twice by now
- Rinse hands under the running water while continuing to rub all areas of the hands, wrist, fingers
- Dry with a clean paper towel.
- Turn off the faucet with a dry paper towel to prevent contamination of your clean hands”
So there you have it. Preventing the spread of disease is up to each of us. Scouring the house with Clorox wipes is helpful, but proper hand washing and not touching our faces will go a long ways in avoiding not becoming the next victim and in not spreading the bad news around to others.
I just made another vat of Chicken-Ginger-Garlic-Lemon soup and some more Ginger-Honey-Lemon Tea today. Yum!
A great discovery from using the leftovers from the last vat was the addition of a can of minced clams! Oh, my goodness! That was so good! The lemon and dill perfectly complemented the clam addition! Make sure to check out last week’s post to grab the original recipes!
PS: For some reason, I’m going to wash my hands again!