While I wanted to write a more motivational post for the week, happenings in the library keep leading me back to one subject: the flu. Pam was out all last week, and she made it back today just as Andrew called in sick. As I sit here at the circulation desk, I can hear the sniffles, coughs, and sneezes of students who have come in to register.
So my mind is on the pragmatic this week: Try to stay well.
Of course, this is not easy to do when you work at a college and see as many people in a day as we do. We sometimes feel especially vulnerable here in the library. More than once, we have had students lean over us at the desk, saying that they were too sick to go to class but thought they’d come in and get a book. Aargh!
So what can we do?
- Get a flu shot. I got mine in November at Target from a very enthusiastic pharmacist. The flu shot is not perfect, but according to doctors, it can help lessen your symptoms if you do get one of the non-covered strains.
- Wash your hands. I attended graduate student with the daughter of a nurse. I have never met anyone more paranoid about touching surfaces. In fact, I thought she was a little weird. But research and experience proved her right. The flu virus hangs about on surfaces. So wash your hands. Over and over and over again.
- Don’t touch your face. So you’re washing your hands, but researchers say there are many more opportunities for germs to get back on them before you wash them again. So don’t touch your face. I have to admit that this is hard for me. For one thing, I have crazy curly hair that tends to stray onto my cheeks and into my eyes. Two, I express half my emotions with my hands–putting my hands over my eyes, slapping my forehead, even putting my hands on each side of my face like Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone. But you’ll be more likely to avoid the flu if you make your face a hands-free zone.
Of course, getting through the flu season unscathed is always a bit of a gamble. Still, there are some things we can do to improve our odds. Stay healthy!