OK, I’m not a doctor, a nurse practitioner, a nurse, or a paramedic. In fact, I don’t even have a valid first aid card. But I do know we are about to be hit with an influenza epidemic.

On top of that, there’s some sort of respiratory disease making the rounds in our little town which sometimes lasts for up to six weeks.

From what I’ve read and heard, both of these illnesses are extremely contagious, and can be very dangerous for people older than 65 and young children.

As for the flu, they say you can infect someone else up to four days before you even feel the symptoms. That means that if someone in your household, place of business, etc., has been exposed to someone who has or is about to come down with the flu, you very well may be contagious without even knowing it.

Here’s what the Center for Disease Control recommends we do to minimize the spread of the flu and other respiratory diseases:

  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.
  • While sick, limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. (If you don’t have a tissue handy cover your mouth by sticking your face into the crook of your arm when you cough or sneeze. Putting your hand over your mouth probably only redirects the virus.)
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu. (If someone who is contagious touches a surface, then you touch it, then touch your nose or mouth without first washing your hands, you’re about to get sick).

Stay well my friends.

Ben Killingsworth


  1. Good advice Ben. Idyllwild is a population of seniors who as you point out are particularly vulnerable to an influenza virus, even perhaps if they've taken their annual flu shot. You just never know what bugs are lurking out there. I do wish and strongly recommend that whoever owns the building our post office is located in would install automatic doors so that thousands of customers who use those manually opened doors won't need to touch those slimy handles. I got a frosty response from the postmistress when I made that suggestion once recently in person. I was thinking only of the convenience issue, but the health of thousands of Idyllwildians who touch those handles is another important consideration. Next time you're doing business at the post office you all might want to recommend new automatic doors.

  2. or wear gloves
    or use a paper towel to open the door
    or Purrell
    or anti-microbial hand wet wipes

    At my job, my boss walks around coughing and infecting everyone. It's easy to say "stay at home" but the economics are that I do not have paid sick days, and if I miss a few unpaid days, I have to get a doctor's note, which will get me sicker just being in the doctor's waiting room lobby.

    can't avoid it, might as well take the hit in small doses. Remember the Native Americans vs the Euro settlers?

    best advice is to keep the stress level low, strengthen immune system with select foods, vitamins, exercise, and good hygiene.