Think of others & wash your hands?
I have resolved not to talk a lot about Coronavirus here on the blog, and whilst I have been fairly vocal about it on my Twitter account and my personal Facebook, I have chosen to not talk that much here or on our other social media.
I am not a medical expert, I am not currently working within any system that would mean I have a real clue about what’s going on and what is best. I have a level of frustration around our government’s attitude to the virus and how we should react, but all I can really do is read, use common sense, and like many other people ride out the rather challenging few months ahead of all of us.
I will admit that the coronavirus outbreak and what it is bringing, has brought out a lot of anxiety for me. Mainly around health and death. I don’t think I am the only one, swinging between calm and logic, to “what if we get it and someone I love dies” to worry about how we will cope with being quarantined, self-isolated, or if the UK goes into lockdown like many countries are now in. I have to remind myself that this is not just me facing this, but the whole world in one way or another. It’s hard. My mind likes to play all the tricks on me, it can, and fear and worry are hard to contain. Many people are worried about jobs, their families near and far and when this will end.
But our reality is, that we have to carry on, with life, as it is now, as normal, for the moment then deal with what comes at us. It is going to be very challenging for very many people. I think, as a nation and as a world, a layer of selfishness and “self first” will be peeled back and we will realize that things like politics, the fancy car we own, the big house we pay a massive mortgage on, the number of followers we have on social media, and all the things we put stock in, mean very little to a virus that is hitting the elderly and vulnerable across the world hard.
Whilst the coronavirus and the prospect of it hitting our house worries me a lot (ok, a proper lot, I have had a lot of very wise support from friends and family who have talked me through a lot of my fear reactions) I think what has made me sad more than anything is the attitude of people, the selfish reactions and the “every man for himself” acts I have seen both in-person (someone trying to steal toilet rolls from the trolley of a mother with a child in the supermarket) and on social media (people laughing off the virus and “I’m alright, I am not old or infirm” posts) and people complaining that life is going to change rather dramatically, with school closures, isolation, events canceled etc.
It is scary. I am scared. I am trying to make it seem ok for my kids, who have no idea what they are facing, this is all new and unknown to them, and many others. I don’t like the idea of not being able to go about normal life. Nobody does.
But, whilst we know very little about this illness, and as we learn and see what it does and the damage it has done and will continue to do, for some time to come, we all need to start to think of others.
I don’t have any underlying health issues that would make me more vulnerable. I am also not in a high-risk age bracket. Yay. Lucky me. Pass me the coffee, let’s carry on.
However, my job now, as much as protecting my own family (and a child with asthma, and we don’t know what effect this virus will have on her) is my key job, my other responsibility is to think of others.
I have friends with cancer, either in recovery or in treatment. I have friends with children who have compromised immune systems, who are vulnerable. I have colleagues and people I work with health issues. There is an elderly community out there who are the much more likely victims of this illness. There are special needs children who this virus would hit hard.
As much as I want to bulk buy, we have not. We will not. We have a small stock of long-life milk, some meals that can be cooked easily, and some extra cat food. Other than that, we shop as normal. I have a child who cannot take ibuprofen and a husband who can’t take paracetamol. I have made sure we have the pain relief we need, but have also felt panic when in the shop seeing shelves bare of essential pain meds when I know that they are normally needed by many families before we even think about coronavirus.
This morning I asked someone to wash their hands, when they entered a building, after coming off public transport. Their response astonished me. “This is a total overreaction and nonsense”.
“Asking people to wash their hands during a pandemic that is killing the old and sick when handwashing is known to be one of the easiest and most effective ways of defending ourselves for the sake of others, is NOT an overreaction”.
In short. It’s going to be a bloody hard few months. People are going to get ill. The vast majority of us will probably feel pretty crap for a few days or weeks. But if the trend is right, from the science I have read, we will get better. It isn’t going to be fun to be stuck at home, it won’t be fun to deal with life as we know it being very different and we don’t know how long for.
But, we need to do these things. We won’t die from being stuck at home with our kids off school but if you pretend this virus isn’t serious and refuse to do the simple things that could help, someone else might not come off as lightly as you.
Simple things, like washing our hands, a lot. More than just a sprinkle under the sink on your way out of the toilet. Proper handwashing will protect us, and also protect those around us. Our hands will get dry but that’s what hand cream is for. It’s a little gesture that could save lives or at least offer a barrier of protection to ease spread. We need to think beyond ourselves and come to the conclusion that acts that protect other people are vital.
Also, please don’t make a big deal out of you being healthy and not old. I am glad for you, it makes your chances good, but those of us with frailer family members or those amongst us who are seeing their peers hit hard by this illness don’t need your gloating. Keep calm, think of others & wash your hands.