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The Plain Sense in Response to Virus

By Staff | Mar 18, 2020

With the COVID-19, now spreading throughout the U.S., and many cases still undetected, Americans are reacting to the virus in varying ways. Some are being smart while others are not. The main thing we need to understand is, don’t take chances.

Mother used to always say, “Wash your hands when your done playing”. I grew up with the understanding that germs cling to anything dirty. Whether we went outside to play ball or wade in the creek, it was imperative that we wash our hands with the old bar of lye soap. We spent hours sometimes rolling in the dirt with the family dog and playing in the barn with the farm animals.

Didn’t matter if the water was from the creek or out of the well, the idea was to heat the water on the stove and use the soap to keep us healthy. I think it worked just fine! We understood that a clean house with clean clothes, cut down on the chances of getting sick. No one had to tell us, it was drilled in us at a young age, in a time when kids listened to what they were told.

Of course we didn’t have all the medications which are available to day, so we relied on the home remedies. Seems like everyone had some. For a common cold we used to heat a wash cloth over and over again to cover are forehead to break the fever. Different kinds of drink mixtures were used, ranging from strong sassafras tea, to hot toddies. Vicks’ salve could be smelled throughout the house, with the understanding it was good for you whether you needed it or not.

Those were different times and many people passed away because of lack of effective medicine, knowledge, and access to proper treatment. Today we need to use modern medicine and take full advantage of the world’s greatest health care system. We are living in strange times. We need to rely on evidence and proof and quit arguing over one position over another. We need to dismiss ambiguious answers. The situatuion we are facing is a first in all of our lives. By some standards I am still a young man, but I have never seen anything like this. A deadly virus that has disrupted life as we know it around the globe!

I remember mom saying “stay away from that kid down the street, he’s got a bug.” We didn’t listen, we just kept on playing and building up immunity. Jumping in the Ohio River right next to the sewage plant was not considered dangerous as far as germs were concerned. We did it every day. Outside play was normal and we spent hours in the cold and snow and hours in the sun and creeks. It’s what we did!

Today people spend more time inside and don’t build up immunity to the common cold let alone a virus as dangerous as the Coronavirus.

Here’s the scoop: stay away from big crowds, stock up on prescription medication and food in case of in-home isolation, and wash your hands frequently. Those are all wise in the face of a pandemic that is spread through virus-laden droplets sneezed or coughed by sick people.

On the other hand, hoarding enormous quantities of toilet paper, crates of bottled water or five year supplies of hand sanitizer as if the end is nigh is irrational and unhelpful to your fellow citizens. The best way to clean germy hands is still a good washing with soap and water. And even though the virus isn’t going away tomorrow, medicine to treat coronavirus infections is expected in the coming months.

And then there are simply idiotic and selfish reactions, such as stealing stocks of medical facemasks from hospitals and research facilities, as has been reported in the United States. The nation already has a woefully inadequate supply of facemasks, and taking protective gear away from those who work with sick people endangers everyone.

Think back a few weeks, to when your world felt more secure and a co-worker’s cough was just a cough, not a fear-inducing threat to your physical and emotional well-being. When you could be assured of the arrival of baseball’s opening day.

There was a time, when only experts worried about the next dangerous virus that would spread rapidly around the globe. And there is now when we all need to worry and take every precaution available.

Every so often a surprise menace of enormous proportions confronts us. How we respond will determine how long we must live with a sense of confusion and uncertainty.

Do the right thing, avoid mass crowds, and wash often. Use good common sense. When the plain sense makes good sense, seek no other sense, or, you’ll end up with nonsense. Ed Parsons, eparsons@tylerstarnews.com