Friday, February 28, 2020

Community Matters: It's cold and flu (and coronavirus) season

State Library of Queensland, Australia 
Cold and flu season is in full swing. I've been watching the news about the progression of the coronavirus while I've been fighting a cold for the past week. I am grateful that despite being a person with a lung condition, I do not seem to have been as heavily impacted with this particular ick as others. I am grateful that during this time I was "well enough" to be able to care for myself. I am grateful that I work from home so I could refrain from spreading this to others and still be able to work.

But what if I didn't have these things? What if I was too sick to care for myself? What if the sniffles worked their way to my lungs and caused bronchitis (which is likely to send me into an asthma attack that would require hospitalization)? What would you do if this were you? Who would you call?

In good times and bad times community is only as strong as we make it. In the good times we need to build it, strengthen it, reinforce it, so that in the bad times we can support each other with it.

This is a time to check in with your friends, particularly those with health issues that could be heavily impacted by a cold, or influenza, or this new virus. Check in with friends who don’t have health insurance. Check in on those who tend to isolate and not ask for help.

Ask what do you need? Offer to bring food, walk the dog, feed the cat, get the kids out of the house so the parent with the sniffles can rest. Help with household chores when they are up and about but still dealing with the exhaustion that follows illness.

Afraid you may get sick? Bring a care package to the door or find a friend who’s already had the ick to deliver it.
Everyone healthy? Have soup making parties where everyone takes some home for the freezer. Bake bread together, connect, share resources.

Make a list of the people in your life who need to be contacted if you are ill or hospitalized. Share it with at least two other people. I keep mine in a Google sheet that I update each year on my birthday. It is shared with several friends.

And please, please, please wash your hands. Get the flu shot regularly to protect those around you who can't get it.

Community is only as strong as we make it. And, at least in my lifetime, we've never needed it more.

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