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Be less easy-going about sickness (originally written 2017)

McKinley Valentine — 2 min read
Be less easy-going about sickness (originally written 2017)
Photo by Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

If you know me IRL you’ve already heard this rant: for you, The Whippet ends here.

Everyone else: stop being so dang casual about hanging out with people when you or they have a contagious airborne disease! Getting a cold sucks so much and most people don’t do the slightest thing to prevent spreading it.

You know when you’re trying to squeeze past a seated person, and they lean forward in their chair without pulling their chair in at all? That is a sick person going to work and brunch and parties and saying “haha stay away from me I’m sick.”

It’s illegal to recklessly, knowingly expose someone to HIV, and it should be the same for the cold (but obviously way less severe, in the way that kicking someone hard in the shins gets a way lower penalty than knocking them unconscious, BUT IS STILL A MESSED UP THING TO DO AND A CRIME). If your boss pressures staff to come into work sick, and someone else catches a cold, your boss should be charged with assault.

If someone asked you round for dinner, and said “FYI there’s a chance I’ll punch you so hard you won’t be able to function for two days” you would not go! But if you say you’re sick, people hand-wave and show up anyway.

And this is from people who mock anti-vaxxers, who claim to understand that being cavalier about your own health (re: viruses) has consequences for the whole community. Do you actually understand that?? WHY AREN'T YOU IN BED RIGHT NOW THEN?

I fully understand that this is lonely and sucks, but "I would rather spread disease than have a boring week" is not good morals.

  1. Colds remain contagious for 5-7 days, i.e. even if you aren't a massive sneeze-mess, you still gotta stay home, or if you do go out, PROPERLY avoid touching people, wipe down stuff that you've used, etc.
  2. If you live with other people, and you have a cold, wash your hands many many many times throughout the day, don't touch clean dishes, etc. People talk like it's inevitable that you'll catch a cold if your housemate has one, but it really isn't.
  3. Stop taking for granted that you will catch whatever's going round. You wouldn't if sick people were more careful.
  4. Just because a cold isn't affecting you that badly, doesn't mean the same virus won't really fuck someone else up. Your experience of a cold is a mix of the virus itself and your personal immune reaction.
  5. I wish it was universally culturally acceptable to wear masks in public when you're sick, that is extremely polite behaviour and should be encouraged (I don't do this but I would be a better person if I did).
  6. It's not arachnophobia if you don't want to pick up a redback spider with your bare hands, and it's not hypochondriac to take basic precautions around sick people.

This piece was originally published in The Whippet #27 – subscribe to get the next one in your inbox!

Unsolicited AdviceEQ & Interpersonal


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