Sunday, May 3, 2009

Social Distancing

There was a headline on a swine flu story yesterday that mentioned social distancing. I didn't read the whole article because I understood exactly what the phrase meant. I've been doing the same thing since my husband and I arrived at the airport last Thursday. To me, social distancing means I don't shake hands with people; I step away from those who sniffle or sneeze or clear their throat as though they're suppressing a cough; and I quickly retreat from anyone who looks sick or has a real cough.

This is not so easy on an airplane, or in a crowded grocery store, or a restaurant, or a hotel. In all those places, we're too close to too many people, and we have to touch too many things that could have been handled by someone who's ill.

In the hotel restaurant this morning, I sat near a gentleman who sneezed twice after he sat down at his table. I watched him for a moment. He looked well. He didn't sneeze again. I chalked it up to allergies and let it go. He could have been one of the goofballs I mentioned in an earlier post, but probably not.

Those I label goofballs, by the way, are sick people who don't have sense enough to stay home.

Social distancing is pretty good advice for this situation. And stay home if you're sick. Please!


Helen Ginger said...

I work out of my home, so I'm not out much. But here I am today going to a Sisters in Crime meeting. Probably shouldn't, but a couple of friends are on the panel, so... I'm headed out this afternoon. I haven't been to a meeting in ages, so I'll probably end up hugging half the people there. Not terribly smart, but I figure I can't stay cooped up in the house forever.

Note to self, put sanitizing gel in purse.


Gayle Carline said...

I soooo agree - sick people should stay home. Although, with many people's lack of good (or any) health insurance, I understand why many folks feel they just can't afford a day off. And then there are the parents who send their kids to school sick because they have to go to work and have no one to stay home with a sick kiddo. It's a real problem, for everyone.

I'm probably not as worried about swine flu as I should be - we just spent yesterday afternoon in a tiny, crowded jazz cafe, listening to a special presentation by my son's high school jazz band. So I may have been exposed - but my son's worth it.

In the meantime, I wash my hands, stay away from sniffly people, and hang out with the healthy folks. Those would be my friends at the ranch, where I stable my horses.


Anonymous said...

I agree, sometimes it is necessary to "keep your distance!"

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

On the flip side, I was picking up my antibiotic prescription at the CVS for my brand-new sinus infection, and people were backing away from me nervously! I'm sure I must sound horrible. I tried to cough into tissues, but I'm positive I sounded like Typhoid Mary.

Galen Kindley said...

I used to regularly ride the bus. Never failed to confound and annoy me the number of people who wouldn't cover up during a sneeze, or, more commonly, a cough.

The Practical Preserver said...

Good idea in all times. One of the reasons I never participated in the "Perfect Attendance" awards when I was teaching. Too many of these kids came to school when they belonged home in bed. Their attendance was perfect but they infected everyone around them.

Anonymous said...

I've heard that we're in the middle of an "infodemic" re: flu info; however, we can never hear it said too often about the positive aspects of social distancing. Good post!

K. A. Laity said...

Those I label goofballs, by the way, are sick people who don't have sense enough to stay home.Hear, hear! Don't share your germs. I am appalled by the people who don't cover a sneeze -- and who chew with their mouths open!

N A Sharpe said...

Great (and very timely) post. There is so much on the news right now about the flu strains and how deadly one in particular is - you can't be careful enough.

NA Sharpe

Jennifer Taggart, TheSmartMama said...

I just wish that more people had manners . . . I also have to stay that I wish parents would keep their children home from daycare as well. I've seen parents dosing kids with Tylenol in the parking lot . . although I suppose that is a sadder commentary on our childcare system.

Anonymous said...

Dr.William Osler's famous "soap, water and common sense" advice still applies, over 100 years later!

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