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Wash Your Hands and Practice Good Hygiene (And Get Vaccinated)

By Ed Parsons - Editor | Feb 17, 2021

With the COVID-19, now taking a turn for the better throughout the U.S., and more people on the road to being vaccinated, Americans are reacting in varying ways. Some are being smart while others are not. The main thing we need to understand is to not take unnecessary chances. Mother used to always say,” wash your hands when your done playing”. I grew up with the understanding that germs cling to anything dirty. Whether we went outside to play ball or wade in the creek, it was imperative that we wash our hands. We spent hours playing in the dirt with the family dog and in the barn with the farm animals.

Didn’t matter if the water was from the creek or out of the well, the idea was to heat the water on the stove and use soap to keep us healthy. I think it worked just fine! But, we still had to get our shots. Vaccinations have been recommended in the United States since the 1940’s. Most of the vaccines were for younger people who had to have them to attend school or even get jobs in some cases. A combined vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough) was recommended in the 1940s, and is still recommended today.

The smallpox vaccine, on the other hand, was on the schedule in the 1940s but is no longer recommended, as smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980 and eliminated from the United States much earlier.

In the 1950’s a new vaccine for polio was recommended, it has since changed, but remains on the current vaccination list. During the 1970’s a combined vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella was added. Today only three vaccinations are needed for seven diseases. Measles, Mumps, and Rebella require one, Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis require on, and Polio requires one.

The list of recommended vaccines continued to be updated as vaccines are developed for more diseases. The Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) vaccine was added to the list in the late 1980s, while a vaccine for hepatitis B was added in the mid-1990s. Vaccines have also been added, for chickenpox (varicella) and hepatitis A.

As of early 2014, the U.S. immunization schedule for children ages 0-6 years includes recommendations for the following vaccinations Hepatitis B, Rotaviru, Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (combined DTaP vaccine), Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b), Pneumococcal, Polio (inactivated vaccine), Influenza, Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (combined MMR vaccine), Varicella (chickenpox), Hepatitis, Meningococcal (certain high-risk groups only)

It’s hard to understand the resistance of some who don’t want to get vaccinated for COVID-19. I mean I didn’t want to get vaccinated as a child, and I still don’t like getting the flu shot, but I understand it’s a necessary evil if you want to stay healthy and keep from spreading to others.

I have never understood why people refuse to get a flu shot and then go out in public and to work sick. Before long the whole community has an outbreak and people with low immune systems often die as a result. Of course that doesn’t seem to matter to some and I find that selfish and ignorant.

Growing up in the early years of these diseases, we understood that a clean house with clean clothes, cut down on the chances of getting sick. No one had to tell us, it was drilled in us, during a time when kids listened to what they were told.

We didn’t have all the medications which are available to day, so we relied on the home remedies. Vicks’ salve could be smelled throughout the house, and we drank lots of fluids, while eating hot soup and crackers. We also stayed inside and away from others.

Those were different times and many people passed away because of lack of science, medicine, knowledge, and access to proper treatment. Today we need to use modern medicine and take full advantage of the world’s greatest healthcare system.

I remember mom saying “stay away from that kid down the street, he’s got a bug.” We didn’t listen, we just kept on playing and building up immunity. Jumping in the Ohio River right next to the sewage plant was not considered dangerous as far as germs were concerned. We did it every day. Outside play was normal and we spent hours in the cold and snow and hours in the sun and creeks. It’s what we did!

Today people spend more time inside and don’t build up immunity to the common cold let alone a virus as dangerous as the Coronavirus.

Here’s the scoop; stay away from big crowds, wear a mask, and wash your hands frequently, Those are all wise in the face of a pandemic that is spread through virus-laden droplets sneezed or coughed by sick people.

The best way to clean germy hands is still a good washing with soap and water. And even though the virus isn’t going away tomorrow, vaccinations seem to be slowing it down. I have been vaccinated and am proud to say so. Those who refuse to be vaccinated are doing a disservice to their friend, neighbors, and family.

Think back to a year ago, when your world felt more secure and a co-worker’s cough was just a cough, not a fear-inducing threat to your physical and emotional well-being. When you could be assured of the arrival of baseball’s opening day.

There was that time before, when only experts worried about the next dangerous virus that would spread rapidly through global air travel. And there is now when we all need to worry and take every precaution available.

Every so often a surprise menace of enormous proportions confronts us. How we respond determines how we live. We can follow the CDC recommendations and be vaccinated or do nothing and see things continue getting worse. It’s a choice each one must make. It’s not a hard choice when one looks at the positive results vaccinations have had on the other diseases.