As we all know, we are in the midst of a pandemic. This article is not in any way an attempt to minimize the severity or importance of that. This is, however an attempt to minimize the panic and put things in perspective.
I grew up with a nurse for a mom, so there were certain things ingrained in us siblings from the age of 3. Wash your hands, cover your face when you sneeze or cough, don’t put your fingers in your mouth and don’t touch your face or eyes. Did I mention, Wash Your Hands? She explained to me the biggest germ transmission is not washing your hands. So as an adult, I wash my hands rather frequently during the course of the day. It’s a good habit to get into and should be practiced by everyone not just during cold and flu season, but throughout the year.
There are many ways to practice good sanitary habits. I personally have always had hand sanitizer in my purse and car. When I leave a store, especially after touching merchandise and money, I clean my hands. Not for any other reason outside of who touched it before me? A kid with a cold or chicken pox, an adult who doesn’t practice good hygiene, etc. It’s sort of like defensive driving. My father told me when I learned to drive, you know what you’re doing, be defensive against the other guy alongside of you. So protect yourself and that will also help to protect others around you.
In the absence of soap and water, there are other ways of cleaning your hands. You can have a squirt bottle of isopropyl alcohol in the car. If that is unavailable, use hydrogen peroxide, even witch hazel.. A friend of mine has individual makeup wipes in her car. It may not kill all virus or bacteria, but it will remove some. My other friend took a squirt bottle, a portion of dishwashing soap and water and keeps that. Shake it up wash your hands, wipe with a paper towel, or napkin. You may not be hermetically sealed, but it will help. Of course when you get home, you clean up completely.
The one thing you don’t want to do is fall into the hype, hysteria and panic. This is not helpful in anyway to anyone. It not only creates pandemonium in public places, it creates a feeling of stress and individual isolation. An every man for himself attitude. That does not help the situation even a little and may actually effect your immune system. Most professionals will tell you in any situation, the main thing is to remain calm and try to stay clear thinking. These are basics taught to doctors, nurses, fireman, police, military, hikers, skiers etc.
The media can assist in one of two ways. They can fuel the fire or calm the calamity. Although it is important to stress the severity of Covid19,or any flu or illness and the areas infected, it is also incumbent upon them as a news source to stress certain positive things to alleviate fears rather than intensify them. Remind people that some people may not be infected or if they are, the symptoms are slight. They should of course still realize that although not sick themselves, they could infect others. They should also reiterate that the vast majority of those sick, will also recover. In reporting a new identified case, also report the recovery cases as well. Don’t scare people into thinking it is an automatic death sentence. For some it is, such as the elderly and those with underlying health issues. But for the most part as with a cold or flu, they will recover. It is also destructive on many levels to point fingers of blame or insinuate that the president is not doing all humanly possible to bring this to an end for the American people. It is also extremely political, irresponsible and self serving and there is no room for that in this national conversation.
What there is room for is positive encouragement of the human spirit, the resilience of the American people and never underestimate the power of prayer. As a people, part of the human race, we are connected in all we do. For those who do not believe in prayer, that’s fine, it doesn’t stop those who do believe, to continue. Even if you don’t believe it helps you, it helps the person doing the praying. And how do you really know it doesn’t help. Just as one may say there is not proof it helps, conversely, there is no proof it does not. Just ask any nurse in a hospital. Some things have no explanation. We can all help each other. Be it prayer, checking in on an elderly neighbor, give $5 to assist the car ahead of you in a gas station, offer to walk your neighbors dog or cut their lawn, or pick up groceries. Drop off donuts or fruit to the nursing staff at senior facility. A smile on the street to a stranger. Any small gesture of human dignity and kindness will not be lost.
So as you start your day tomorrow, be it going to work, or remotely or just at home tending to your personal responsibilities, remember, we as a nation are all in this together, and will come out of it together. Try to do what you can to facilitate that. As my mother would say, If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. So try to be solution oriented. And remember to be kind, human, prayerful and compassionate and help where and when you can. We live in the greatest country in world with the most brilliant medical and scientific minds. Although we may feel constrained right now, it should provoke us to remember how valuable our freedoms are and be grateful. Keep in mind our frailties, and be reminded of our strength as a nation and a grand and capable people. Keep all things in perspective. And above all wash your hands and stay well.