Sneezing and sanitizing

The other day, someone told me they no longer hear people say, "Bless you" when a person sneezes. Instead, people these days tend to get this look of fear in their faces whenever a sneeze, a cough or even a sniffle is overheard. It’s the fear of contracting the dreaded H1N1 novel influenza virus.

While doing some shopping in Worthington last week, I couldn’t help but notice all of the precautions being taken to avoid the spread of the flu.

At one store, the cashier was squirting sanitizer in her hands after every transaction.

At another store, a sign was posted at the entry to encourage all shoppers to take the free wipes being offered to clean off the handlebar of their shopping cart.

At the third store, I noticed a cashier coughing into her elbow … the appropriate protocol to protect oneself from spreading germs to others.

I was impressed by what I witnessed at all three locations. As the public health beat reporter (among my many duties at the Daily Globe), these are steps that have been talked about over … and over … and over.

Fortunately, the Daily Globe employees have not yet endured the wrath of H1N1 … and I hope we keep it that way. We still have our can of Lysol and several bottles of hand sanitizer (I have three little bottles of sanitizer on my desk alone … I don’t know if that makes me paranoid or maybe just a pack rat … all of them were given to me over the last few years).

Hmm, does hand sanitizer lose its effectiveness over time? (OK, I just looked … the bottle on my desk expired in December 2007. A lot of good that does me!)

Oh well, I’ve managed to avoid the sickness so far, and I am going to keep from getting the flu … it’s all willpower (and the knock-on-wood approach seems to work well too!)

Now if I can just figure out a way to prevent those little Trick-or-Treaters from coughing or sneezing into my house on Halloween night. Maybe I’ll take one of my bottles of hand sanitizer home this weekend, just in case my willpower runs out … I know it will already be weakened by the tempting chocolate bars!

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