What an icky news week! First, there were the bed bug stories. It seems after being a hot news item and big time travel risk a few years back, bed bugs are making a comeback. Yuck! Then, continuing coverage of West Nile virus and the mosquitos that carry it. Double yuck! Bed bugs are icky, but bed bug bites aren’t going to do you in. West Nile, well, that’s far more dangerous. And then this morning, the headlines (at least the ones in the science section, which is where I head first) are screaming about hanta virus at Yosemite! I thought falling rock and bears were the mortal danger there, but no, it’s mice!
Well, that reinforced my house rule governing pets, which is “No venom. No vermin.” We’ve still got two dogs, two birds, and two lizards. But the rule rules out rodents and creepy crawlies, like tarantulas and hissing cockroaches, that my son would bring home in a heartbeat. I think it’s a good rule. It works for us.
And then I cleaned out my son’s backpack. And there among the papers he forgot to give me, was a warning that a case of head lice had been discovered at school. And that is my own worst nightmare. Those of you who’ve met me over the years, know I’ve got lots of really long hair. And when I was in grade school, my mom invariably and intricately braided it every time there was a surprise lice check. So, there I sat for what felt like hours while Mrs. Hoff, the school nurse, thoroughly inspected every strand of my hair with the help of an alcohol-soaked tongue depressor. I never had lice, and I never will forget the poster-sized poem that hung above the cot in Mrs. Hoff’s office:
Share a thought, share a ride
Share a feeling deep inside
But never share your hat or comb
Or lice will make your head its home!
So, I recited the poem for the kids this morning, and I thought I’d pass it along to you too. But really all this germy, icky news made me wonder what’s in store for us this flu season. In her second week at school, my daughter was already sent home sick. Not the flu, but when I dragged her into the CVS Minute Clinic (where I will go because they don’t spell it Minit), there were flu shot ads everywhere. In fact, the new Walgreens and the CVS seem to be engaged in a kind of Coke vs. Pepsi war over who can give the most flu shots in the most convenient and comfortable way.
Anyway, I figured I’d ask all of you if the pandemic scare that sent us all scrambling resulted in real, long-term changes in your organizations. Do you feel better prepared? Do you think that you (and those in your organization) have a better understanding of the risk? Do you do anything special leading into flu season to raise awareness? Let me know. And then I’ll share your responses (anonymously, of course) for the greater good. In the meantime, may you and yours be bug free!
Director of Communications