Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Colds and flu and other viruses

A story in the paper yesterday listed a T/F quiz about what to do if a co-worker showed up at work to share your office and work station with a bad cold. First correct answer was wash your hands frequently; second was report it to your supervisor. Homicide was the wrong response.

At the Veterinary library our materials were on occasion returned with blood, guts, semen and vomit, and almost always human viruses. We really weren't in that much danger from the zoonotics, but a sick patron could infect and reinfect my staff. We had a roll of paper towels and cleaner handy, and a box of kleenex for patrons at the circ desk. Viruses can live a long time on hard surfaces like counter tops, door handles, and books returned with fingers that just swiped a runny nose. When kids are going into debt for higher education, they don't stay home to nurse a cold. Even if you have to buy these supplies out of your own pocket, it is worth it.

Viruses can live up to 48 hours on surfaces, but it might be a week before you show any symptoms, so just wash your hands frequently anyway. Carry "Wet Ones" or other wipes with you, or if you work in a library or office, hand them out to your staff to use when they can't get to a wash room.

"Passing the Peace" at church is also a problem. Carry some hand wipes in your purse or pocket, rather than worry that you've touched the hand that touched the hand that touched the door knob, etc. My husband is an usher and he's going to suggest to his team leader that they pass them out with the bulletins or at least have them available for people who want them.

Is it a cold or flu; airborne or surface; here's the scoop.

1 comment:

Anvilcloud said...

My secret sin is that I am a hand-licker --- of my own hands I must hasten to add. It probably started when I was teaching and had to keep passing out paper. Paper seems drying anyway, and when you're passing it out and counting from the corners --- well you tend to moisten. So, there you have it.

I have read #70. Interesting that you have moved from democrat to republican while I have been going more the other way as I age --- from somewhat conservative to somewhat liberal. I don't think I was ever very far right and am not now terribly far left: a good, old Canadian centrist --- so banal.