There’s a great scene in an episode of Seinfeld where George Costanza is at a gathering and dips a chip, takes a bite, then dips it again. Another character confronts George about it and says, “It’s like putting your whole mouth in the dip!”
Most people’s first reaction is, “Gross! What a way to spread germs!” Hopefully, none of us would ever double-dip a chip.
The spreading of germs is a double-edged sword. We don’t want all those bad germs infecting our bodies and making us sick. However, there are good germs and there is also something good about building up a good immune system over time through exposure to all kinds of germs.
We’ve had quite a spate of illness in school lately, with over 80 kids gone some days in K-12. I walked into my first hour class one day to find eight students absent just in that one section. There have been cases of stomach flu, high fevers, and influenza. The school has been encouraging parents to keep kids home in these instances until they’re fully recovered. I’ve seen multiple cases of kids returning too quickly and going right back home.
I can always appreciate a desire to get back to school or work. It’s always tough as a parent to know for sure when your child is healthy enough to return. Even with Anton, who had a high fever, he seemed back to normal, running a regular temp and feeling good, only to have a relapse on his way to school the next day.
We all dislike being sick. You always wonder just when you might feel anything close to 100% again. I had something run through my system where I didn’t feel quite right for a week. It wasn’t a fever or anything that knocked me out, but I felt like I was swimming upstream that whole time. Chances are, especially if you live around here, you’ve felt the tug of sickness at some point in the past couple of weeks.
My dad will argue that we’ve done this to ourselves. It seems like there are more sicknesses and nastier bugs out there, and he will tell you it’s because we’re too clean. All this antibacterial soap and disinfectant is causing germs to evolve at a rapid rate. Dad will tell you that we need to not be so anal about germs.
I think he has a point. When I was young, I know I didn’t always wash my hands thoroughly when I came in from playing outside. I certainly wasn’t singing the ABC song or whatever kids today use to know how long they should wash. I’ve been pretty fortunate and haven’t gotten sick too often in my life. I didn’t miss a day of high school due to illness, and I’ve built up a large number of sick days at work. Maybe that early exposure to germs helped me long term?
I sanitize my classroom every so often. I wash my hands when I should. But there are still some things that baffle me. I’ve always thought that when we distribute wine for communion in church that it should be individualized. We’ve been assured over and over that germs can’t spread with the alcohol. It’s not the wine I’m worried about, it’s the shared cup. I’ve been a Eucharistic minister and had to try to wipe off the lipstick and spittle.
I’ve heard different arguments as to why the Catholic Church won’t follow the lead of some other denominations and give out cups. The bottom line is that we’re reprimanded when we don’t consume, but you’ll never get a majority until the shared cup goes away. I’m not afraid of the germs so much (we sit near the front of church), but I know I’m a carrier of germs, being so exposed to kids, and I don’t want to risk spreading those to others.
At the end of the day, we all have to do what’s best to stay healthy. The scary event with the girl from Owatonna dying of influenza brings things too close to home. As her father said, any medical cost is worth the peace of mind.
I’d like to wish all my readers a very merry Christmas! Please stay safe and healthy and enjoy the time you have with your families! One of the best gifts I have gotten the past couple of years has been your comments on my writing – thank you so much for reading!
Word of the Week: This week’s word is oneiric, which means relating to a dream, as in, “The young girl wasn’t sure if she was in an oneiric state, or if she actually heard reindeer on her roof.” Impress your friends and confuse your enemies!