Photo of Flu virus: A/Hong Kong/1/68. Magnification: approximately x70,000. Micrograph from F. A. Murphy, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis
With the H3N2 strain of Influenza occuring in the United States on an impressive scale, now might be a good time to review a few common sense suggestions on proper etiquette for those a bit under the weather.
A few Etiquette Guidelines for those plagued by illness
§1. As we suffer our way through the cold and flu season, it is good to keep in mind certain rules of etiquette that apply to those who happen to be indisposed. Certainly, the sick person should be treated with patience and care, and aided in his efforts at recovery. He for his part, however, must take care not to needlessly spread his ailment, or disturb those who might not be infected. The following is a short list of guidelines on how the ill lady or gentleman should act:
§2. First and foremost, the person ill with the cold, flu, or any contagious disease or virus should use prudence with regard to his going about. If the doctor or common sense suggest that you remain in bed, taking it easy, then by all means do so. The ill lad must remember to take special care when dealing with small children or the elderly!
§3. If the sick person deems it necessary and prudent to venture forth from his sickbed, certain simple rules of courtesy should then be observed:
§4. In the first place, he should be certain to give people proper warning before they put themselves in close proximity to him, especially if it is to be for any extended period of time. They might be particularly susceptible to illness, and it is certainly polite to inform them of the situation.
§5. It is also imperative that the sick person take care to cover his mouth when coughing or sneezing. Do know that being sneezed upon charms very few ladies or gentlemen!
§6. Care must be taken, as well, that all those objects that are coughed or sneezed upon are properly handled. “Contaminated objects” should be carefully thrown away, not left to be handled and disposed of by others! Frequent hand washing is also advisable, as the sick person’s hands are inevitably covered with germs. Such things as pens, toothbrushes, and handkerchiefs should not be used (or, in the case of pens, chewed on) and then passed around for communal use. Similarly, the indisposed lady or gentleman should not share food and drink with the healthy.
§7. In all things the ill person, as a lady or gentleman, should be considerate and prudent. Certainly no one wants to become sick, and he who has the unfortunate lot of being so should take care not to pass along his misfortune. We should all be familiar with these guidelines, but it never hurts to be reminded of them! May God bless us all with good health! Ss. Cosmas and Damian, Pray for us!
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Dedicated to a certain professor of Classics, at whose request this list of guidelines was written.
Edition of 31.I.2004, ©, TC
On the subject of the flu, here is a link to a site presenting some information on the use of various media to track the illness: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/01/130110-google-twitter-track-flu-cases-health-science/