As I worked this morning, I was listening to talk back radio and the reports that several more cases of Swine Flu have been detected in Melbourne. Callers were inundating the radio station, panicked with fear, stating they were withdrawing their children from school,isolating themselves in their homes, even threatening to sue a cruise company for not advising that a case of the flu had been detected whilst they were a passenger last week.
The level of fear going on about this flu was brought home to me last Friday, as I travelled into the city on the train. One of the passengers had a heavy cold /flu and had several coughing bouts and each time, the carriage went silent, people turned away and covered their faces and the disdain for the poor guy coughing was almost tangible.He did the right thing, used a handkerchief and turned away towards the window each time he coughed, so as not to cough over those in his immediate area. I really felt sorry for him. Who hasn’t experienced a cold and had a coughing fit while out in public?
The strange thing about all this is that given the level of fear about the Swine Flu, it seems to have made little impact on the person hygiene habits of many within our community. I have had occasion to visit several public lavatories over the past week or so(at shopping malls and city offices) and I am disgusted at the poor level of hygiene which is practised by individuals. Womens’ conveniences, being what they are , means that there is always a considerable queue and waiting is the norm. I observed so many women, exiting the lavatories without washing their hands and also mothers with children, failing to wash their children’s hands after they had finished.People wonder why they get ill! If they cannot wash their hands after visiting the lavatories they are certainly not going to wash their hands after using supermarket trolleys, handling money or( and forgive me here) changing a baby’s nappy and before preparing food!
Personally, I carry a bottle of the alcohol based hand sanitiser and use it frequently. I did see on a TV report that several forward thinking supermarkets in the US had large pump packs of the sanitsiser at the front entrance to their stores and large signs encouraging the public to use it prior to entering. I also noticed a pump pack sitting on the reception desk when I was at the medical surgery yesterday with Prue but I did not see one single person use it!
Like manners and etiquette, good hygiene practices are the responsibility of parents and should be reinforced at school. As for those adults who have no regard for others, they need to wake up to themselves . They are lazy, selfish and discourteous and the reason why illnesses such as the flu and gastro spread.