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The flu's back and so are the lethal germ sprayers

By unknown | May 06, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

I clocked another birthday flat on my back, shivering under a mound of blankets.

I clocked another birthday flat on my back, shivering under a mound of blankets.

The telephone rang incessantly with birthday wishes the whole day. I could only croak "thanks" in a hoarse voice.

I had a bad case of flu and bronchitis. It was an unpleasant start to the cold season. I was feeling tired and cranky because the sun was out outside but I was indoors, shivering and snivelling like a baby.

I had given myself a treat by visiting the Eastgate Mall for a bit of window shopping last week. I took a taxi, with a lot of strangers, to the mall.

One stranger has become my bitterest enemy. He was breathing audibly and sneezing every three minutes. He did not cover his mouth. He did not have tissues or a handkerchief. He used his hands to wipe off the spray.

At one point I suspected that part of that noxious stream was aimed at me, but I chided myself for being finicky.

One of the ladies in the taxi offered the man a tissue, but he refused, saying that he was fine. There was an oblique discussion among the ladies about hygiene and infection. We could not be direct because he might have knocked us about.

Two days later I had a blinding headache and aching bones. I thought about cursing the man, but I was afraid the curse might boomerang and I would be sicker.

Now I am the one in the taxi barking like an old dog. I have tissues and I cover my mouth. But I am embarrassed that I might spread that dreadful man's flu to others.

Auntie Emma says flu only goes away after two weeks, but doctors give us three days off work. This means that you pass the flu to others, especially colleagues.

This can't be helped because employers have cut down on sick leave. That is why people have three or four bouts of flu a year.

She says people should be taught how to behave when they are ill. They know the rules but with time they forget what their mothers taught them. People should cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze.

Actually, they should not be around people when they are at that stage. Sneezing means that a person is still infectious and can pass the germs on to others.

The only good thing about the long weekend was the absence of cars on the road. Everybody had gone away for a break.

We had to wait a long time for taxis, but since the roads were empty we spent as little time as possible with passengers who had flu.

Next week everyone will be back with different strains of the disease from all the corners of South Africa. Then another round of the flu will be on us yet again.


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