Are you sick of all of this COVID-19 talk? It's hard to turn a page, scan social media or tune into a newscast without hearing about the ups or downs of the number of cases. It's also impossible to escape the talk of who's doing things right, who's doing things wrong and what are the best preventive measures.
Well, hold onto your hat, because it's probably going to get worse before it gets better. I'm not talking about the coronavirus itself; I'm talking about the spread of the virus of information (good and bad).
As we enter fall, we know that the annual flu season will soon be upon us. Health experts, which nowadays have a broad scope in qualifications, are debating if this year's flu season will be worse than normal, since it more than likely will be compounded by the lingering COVID-19. (Will it soon become COVID-20, with new strains emerging?)
That may be true. I, for one, do not claim to be a health or medical expert, so I cannot confirm nor deny the claim that a combination of flu-COVID will make for an extremely sick winter. I do have a feeling that gone are the days of a person "just not feeling well," having "just a cold" or even fall allergies.
We are living in a world where everything has to be classified and sorted into neat categories.
About a month ago my wife and I were dining in a Wisconsin pizza restaurant where masks were not required, and most customers obliged with that non ruling. Well, partway through our meal I let out a shutter-rattling sneeze. After properly covering my sneeze, I did a quick glance around the room, only to see many in the lunch-hour crowd of construction workers turning my way with comments of "COVID" and "'rona," followed up with chuckles.
This crowd knew (hoped) that we were all COVID-safe, but in a different setting I probably would have been flogged and stoned right on the spot for that one innocent, though ill-timed, sneeze.
Making things more difficult, COVID-19 may present like the flu and vice versa. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, both COVID-19 and flu can have varying degrees of signs and symptoms, ranging from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe symptoms. Common symptoms that COVID-19 and flu share include:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle pain or body aches
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults
Click here for more information from the CDC to help distinguish or confuse matters that much more.
But how do we know that that person's sneeze, cough or touch is not COVID-laden. The short answer, we don't.
So do we curl up in a fetal position and never leave our house?
Again, short answer, no.
We go on living the lives that we want to the best of our abilities within the constraints that some governments choose to put upon us. Live our lives, but let's not be stupid either. Just like with the flu or even the common cold (if we can ever have one again), if you’re not feeling well, stay home.
Kaushi Kanankege, a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Veterinary Population Medicine in the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, assembled a great list of eight suggestions to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. She shared her list in the Center for Animal Health and Food Safety's "Weekly Update."
Though, again, I am not a medical expert, I have a feeling that these suggestions would be beneficial for most of whatever ails you. If you click through to check out Kanankege's full list, you may notice some measures that are familiar to your farm's SOPs.
No one knows exactly how this whole COVID-19 thing will play out, but let's be smart, don't live in fear, protect yourself and educate yourself.