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The predictions and reports about the flu seasons this fall are more ferocious and frightening than a town-hall meeting about health care.
Everyone is talking about the topic, but we fear the masses may be missing the message.
Medical experts are drawing dire pictures for both the seasonal flu and the dreaded H1N1 (swine) flu. Some predict a pandemic, and residents are flocking to doctors, clinics and pharmacies to be inoculated.
Young people, pregnant women and medical personnel are especially encouraged to take extreme care to avoid being both infected and contagious in their precarious environments.
Illness is spreading through Kentucky literally like a fever. Schools are closing, a woman in Louisville has died, and rumors and fears are driving decisions.
But we can’t let down our individual guards.
Shelby County seems encircled by outbreaks of H1N1 but has not yet recorded its first case. And local officials are appropriately preaching the steps each of us must take to protect ourselves and others.
And therein lies our key message: We must help one another.
Even if cleanliness is a few steps removed from Godliness in your life, please make a conscious effort to scrub and sanitize yourself and your loved ones at every turn.
Even if you don’t like tissues or handkerchiefs and believe the air is your nasal septic system, try shielding sneezes and coughs from others, even if you think it’s “just allergies.”
When sneezing, try to use that elbow area rather than your hands. It will take concentration because of your natural reflexes, but you can do it.
And, above all, respect each other’s personal space. Cut down on hugs, kisses and handshakes, if you can, and just try to stand a little farther from those to whom you are speaking and greeting. You would be amazed how that can help.
This always seems so fundamental when we read the advice, but these are the sort of tips that can help not just ourselves but our community.
Inevitably there will be an outbreak of flu in Shelby County, but with our joint efforts, we can hope to curtail the spread and help one another endure this awful illness.