By Nick Horne • 28 January 2020 • 17:29
At this time of year sniffs and sneezes appear to the left and the right of me. Occasionally even I succumb to a cold.
Some colds may feel like influenza so an out break of days off work because of colds rather than influenza is not at all uncommon. A recovery in a couple of days proves the ailment to have been just a bad cold.
Influenzas will make you take to your bed and keep you there for a week barely able to move and in pain, for the young, the old or frail influenza can kill. It is reported that each year more than 60,000 people are carried off by influenza.
Flu is a serious malady. Every family and most people have a cure for the common cold and these household remedies usually centre around care and comfort. Its not that different with the flu Drinks to keep hydrated, special soups and treats designed to make you feel loved and cared for.
Supporting you not only in body but also your morale. I have had the flu once but not recently, I know and remember the difference between a cold and full blown influenza.
From time to time there are epidemics even Global Pandemics. Are the reports from China cause for concern? Clearly so however is the Coronavirus originating apparently in the Chinese city of 11 million people of Wu Han going to be a Global Pandemic? Far too early to determine. So far reports are that the Coronavirus has indeed spread , infected people are being detected across the planet.
Airports are warily receiving passengers and scanning for those that may be ill. Many though will carry the virus and as yet experience and show no symptoms at all. Some may be “super spreaders”, people who are unusually infectious. What can we do to try to avoid infection? Actually quite a lot even as single individuals. Essentially the habits of good hygiene will be most effective.
Wash hands regularly. Viruses appear to spread through droplets of water and moisture; regular hand washing is an effective barrier to infection. Mercifully so far the number of deaths attributed to the Coronavirus remains relatively small, each a tragedy though not a large addition to the annual toll that influenza takes.
A century ago an outbreak of influenza, this one a global pandemic, was burning itself out. During 1918 and 1919 through to 1920 between 50 million and 100 million people died. The so called Spanish Influenza pandemic. Arguably as many died in this influenza pandemic as died in the hostilities of the First World War, perhaps more.
Laying up some tins of chicken soup and washing your hands regularly may not seem a robust comprehensive plan however there is not a great deal more that a single individual can do.
On a larger scale we all rely on the medical authorities of the countries we live in to act in our best interests collectively. Should they fail they will also be affected; so no doubt they will be feeling a certain pressure to get things right.
Nick Horne, London, England
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