Hands up if you’ve heard me say this before:
“Our house is basically a revolving door of sick from October to April. And since there are so many of us, by the time person number six gets sick, the cold virus has mutated, so person number one gets it again.”
I always assumed that colds and runny noses were just inevitable. It was a fair assumption, one that has been borne out by experience every year of my life… until now.
It’s day 227. The last time anybody in this house got sick was 221 days ago, when I had strep throat. Since then we’ve all been healthy, thank God, with the exception of R and her seasonal allergies (poor baby.)
In the last few years, I had started to notice that anytime I felt significantly chilled, a cold would follow. Maybe my Buby was right, I began thinking, maybe you do get sick if you don’t bundle up properly. This year, however, I’ve felt quite chilled a number of times; not once have I gotten sick. I now feel confident that I was right all along: maybe getting chilled depresses your immune system, but unless you’ve been exposed to a virus, you won’t get sick.
This is definitely a positive side effect of the COVID-19 precautions. With reduced social contacts, masks, plenty of handwashing, and zero-tolerance policies for symptoms of illness, we’re seeing that coughs, colds, and flu don’t have to be inevitable or inescapable. The big question is: can we keep at least some of these precautions going after the COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted? Please?
Picture it: Fewer sick kids missing school, which means fewer parents having to take days off to care for their children at home. Fewer work absences for sick days. Fewer hospital visits for people with asthma or kids prone to croup. Fewer visits to doctors, which means shorter waits for routine care, not to mention less cost to our provincial healthcare system.
With all the potential social and economic benefits, isn’t it worth trying to make some of our precautions permanent? Shouldn’t we always expect people with any symptoms of illness to stay home or at least wear a mask in public? Shouldn’t frequent handwashing become the norm for everyone? Obviously I think so. The real question is, how can we make this happen?