Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘mass hysteria

Mass Hysteria and the Coronavirus

with 4 comments

Folks, I have read any number of articles and seen any number of TV programs (and internet programs, for that matter) regarding the coronavirus. It is an infectious disease with no cure; it is a virus; the only way to deal with it is by living through it and taking palliative measures that you’d take if you were dealing with any illness at all.

This is all true.

But the hysteria around the coronavirus — the “we’re all gonna die” feeling — is not helpful. It scares people for no reason. It worries them to the point they go out and buy all the toilet paper in the store, all the bottled water, all the Lysol and disinfecting bleach…and they do this because it’s the only thing they can control.

Illness isn’t fun. I know this, as I’m battling Ye Olde Mystery Illness.

But you can deal with it. You can make sure you have Tylenol on hand. You can get extra rest. You can make sure you have some soup in the house, or something easy to eat, if you are too ill to make something. And you can make sure that you stay mentally healthy, refusing to give in to the hysteria, while you take these preventive measures.

Yes, get more bleach, if it makes you feel better. (I know I’ve bought some extra for both my Mom and myself. But it’s just one bottle with the groceries, not the whole section.) Get Lysol, as you should have that on hand anyway. Get cleaning products (which you should also have on hand). Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly with hot water (by preference; cold water beats nothing). And remember that washing your hands is by far preferable to hand sanitizer, but if all you have is hand sanitizer for some reason, use it as it’s better than nothing at all. (The good ones have alcohol in them. The not-so-good ones that don’t do much at all don’t.)

Now, all of this is just common-sensical stuff. This is what most of us can do about anything when it comes to our health.  And when we think about it that way, there’s no reason to panic.

But the reason people are panicking is very simple: Coronavirus is new. People don’t know what’ll happen to them. It is infectious. It is dangerous to people who are dealing with respiratory issues or are older adults (I don’t like the word “elderly,” so I’ll just say “older adults,” OK?).

And “new viral illness” that’s killed people, and shut down most of the country of Italy, is scary. The progression of the disease, how fast it moves, and how it can kill people — that, too, is scary.

So I’m not saying to take it lightly.

All I’m saying is, don’t give in to the hysteria. That gets you nowhere. It wastes your energy to no purpose.

Instead, be prepared — moderately so (don’t buy all the toilet paper on the shelves, OK?) — and do whatever your doctor tells you to do if you get it.

That’s all you can do with these unknown illnesses. (Or really, anything unknown at all.)

Written by Barb Caffrey

March 10, 2020 at 8:47 am