Cold and flu season
When was the last time you washed your hands?
Seriously, when was it?
That long ago? You should probably go wash your hands.
Yes, right now.
Don’t worry. We will wait for you to get back. .....
As sure as there are snowflakes in the air, winter in Wisconsin brings with it a spike in the number of cold and flu cases. Scientists assure us that it is not the cold that brings out the viruses that cause the illnesses, but it is the fact that the cold keeps people inside where all the illness-causing pathogens like to hang out.
As someone who has suffered through more than my fair share of summer colds, I can assure you that those buggers don’t care what season it is.
When I first started at The Star News, I shared a workspace with another reporter whose remedy for dealing with a cold was to down as much beer as possible and then try to sleep it off. He still felt horrible the next day, but it was never clear if it was because of the awful hangover or the cold. It is remarkable that every person I know has some great-grandmother’s cold remedy which included a large serving of either brandy or whiskey.
Like every other media outlet, in recent weeks my email in-box has been flooded with updates about the coronavirus and what is being done to prevent it from becoming the next Spanish Flu. It is far worse on social media between the people attempting to lure you into pyramid schemes and being obnoxious about their particular flavor of politics or religion. There are even people dredging up anecdotal “facts” about the supposed cyclical nature of devastating global illnesses going back to the plague of Julian in ancient Constantinople.
I don’t know about you but plague cycles sounds like a terrifyingly awful sporting event out of some dystopian science fiction movie starring Kurt Russell reprising his role as Snake Plissken. Actually, I think I would probably pay money to go see Snake Plissken escape from something.
It is understandable to want to be cautious when it comes to a new virus showing up. Given the global transportation network, in a matter of hours a new bug can spread across the world in the pressured flying germmobiles known as commercial airplanes.
With the imminent risk of catching some dread, creeping awful of an airborne virus, about the only thing we can do is either hole up in our private bunkers and wait out the impending collapse of civilization while eating beans for every meal, or, more realistically we can go about our normal lives but take a little more care in covering our sneezes, not touching our faces and washing our hands often.
I see you there rubbing your eyes.
Aren’t you glad I waited for you to wash your hands?
You will thank me later.
The other key tips medical experts tell us are to do things like getting plenty of sleep, exercising and eating right. Considering that most of us ignore that advice even when we are healthy, our chances of getting through the winter without getting ill are getting slimmer and slimmer.
Knock on wood, I have gotten lucky so far this season — most likely due to the flu shot I got last fall and my obsession with hand washing. Of course, as I write this, I am noticing a slight tickle in the back of my throat.
Brian Wilson is News Editor at The Star News.