Winter ailments and the great unwashed

The latest plague to hit the land is the Norovirus – or Winter Gastroenteritis. As at the end of the first week in January; 100,000 a week are going down with it and 57 hospital wards have been closed. This is in addition to the usual Winter selection box of colds, flu, sniffles etc…

Norovirus is highly infectious, and any one affected is advised to stay at home for at least two days after they feel well again; to avoid passing the infection on.

All well and good, but have you had the misfortune to mix with the public recently? General standards of behaviour are often appalling; in the last few days I have been in food shops with people openly coughing and sneezing – making no attempt whatsoever to cover their mouths and noses, one of them even did that ‘footballer’s style’ blowing the nose – splurting a load of snot onto the floor – in Debenhams…

Add to this; overcrowded public transport, with my own personal bete noir: the poor ventilation (not air conditioning, just air change) and its no wonder 100,000 folk a week are keeling over.
In Winter, the buses (especially here in the West Midlands), resemble nothing more than mobile saunas; incredibly overheated and windows streaming with condensation, chuck in some sneezing infected folk – caring not a jot about their personal hygiene regime – and you have the ideal scenario for spreading any disease.
As a side issue, why do most passengers on the bus dress as if they have come from, or are heading to the siege of Sevastopol? – most times I have had the misfortune to use the bus during rush hour its been about 30 deg centigrade – which in other circumstances would be a pleasant tropical temperature.

If the much talked about bird flu was ever to reach our shores, I reckon that about half the population would succumb in a couple of days with a good proportion wiped out in less than a week.
However, with the way that some people behave maybe it’s time to ‘trim the herd’… just keep yourself out of circulation for a few days until it all dies down again.

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