Aaahhh...chooo! Dealing with the germs of the season

When ads tout there’s still time to get a flu shot and cold remedy coupons arrive weekly, winter’s not over yet. Even without a coupon, anyone who’s ailing but well enough to trudge into a 24-hour drug or grocery store rarely hesitates to buy relief at any price, provided it’s in stock!

So, what did we do before flu shots were de rigueur and abundantly available from doctors’ offices, convenient care clinics and an increasing number of local pharmacies (i.e., what’s more efficient than taking the shot, purchasing deodorant, diapers, disinfectant and picking up your favorite newspaper on a single visit?).

Here’s what a lot of us did: we stayed at home when we were sick, washed our hands, covered our mouths while sneezing or coughing, washed our hands, lived less stressful lives, washed our hands, grabbed a glass of water (not soda) when thirsty, washed our hands, and – now we’re going way back – made less frequent trips to the store. When most households had just one car, grocery trips were typically once-a-week outings. 

Here’s what a lot of us do now: go to work when we’re under the weather (we need our jobs), or send our children to school because it’s hard to find anyone willing to look after sick kids while grandma and grandpa winter in Florida.

These circumstances are very real, and it’s necessary to manage as best we can. A reasonable solution might be to draw upon classic good habits while utilizing preventive measures that result from modern medical advancements. As importantly, we should recognize the need to employ common sense and common courtesy with no exceptions.

For example, aside from the occasional late-night run to the pharmacy, too many noticeably contagious people opt to shop ‘til they drop.

Are you horrified when caught in a store aisle with a sneezer or cougher who makes no effort whatsoever to turn away and lift a hand or arm to use a tissue or sleeve to contain the germy mist?  

Are you among the shoppers who become distressed after unloading an entire cart filled with groceries only to see the cashier cough into her hand as she starts the conveyor and subsequently touches all your foodstuffs? In a recent conversation about this particular peeve, it was learned that an acquaintance in that very situation quipped, “That’s it,” as she abruptly walked out of the store, leaving everything on the belt.

That’s quite a statement, but, realistically, what’s the recourse? To go to another germ-laden market then start all over by spending another hour among croupy sounding coughers with guttural emanations worthy of horror films? The winter shopping experience would immensely improve if customers were more considerate and if cashiers would keep hand sanitizer close-by.

Rather than letting winter get a grip on us, it’s up to us to get a grip and act responsibly when out and about! The road of prevention is preferable to following the road to recovery! Aaahhh...chooo!

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Volume 6, Issue 3, Posted 10:25 AM, 02.04.2014