Today is a day of thoughtful revelation. For it seems, after surviving the first decade of the new century, that I have yet to succumb to the symptoms of the common cold. I canít remember the last time I had a runny nose!
This wonderful self-examination has thrust me into a delirious euphoria from which I have concluded that no germ will ever get the best of me. So long as I remain faithful to my practices, I will inevitably emerge triumphant.
This is not to say that germs are of mythical origin, as they exist in abundance on doorknobs, dish rags, and yes, even on the keyboard used to type this column. They spread viruses and disease and cause belly aches.
But perhaps, in all fairness to those who have suffered the punishing symptoms, I would rationalize my good fortune as a product of my practice and not my ability to ward off the tiny invaders. Or perhaps again, as I would prefer to presume, my immune system is doing its job.
There are two things you should know: I rarely touch things and I donít bite my nails. So getting germs in a location where they can get into my body is less likely - and I frequently wash my hands.
I wasnít always so cautious and I am no longer so naÔve.
As an elementary student, I was told that a cold freeze would rid us of the bugs and cooties that make us sick. But only hot temperatures kill germs and cold weather only makes them dormant.
As a young man, I was told getting wet in the rain would make you ill. But a cold is a viral infection and getting wet wonít give you a cold.
Perhaps you noticed, in recent weeks, that the H1N1 Virus remains below what was predicted, and in fact, the numbers ó in practically all states ó indicate a decline. While that is good news, it is not the last we will hear of the virus.
You may recall that H1N1 made its appearance in April 2009 as a national emergency. It took the country by surprise.
Seven months later, itís still acting out Ė behaving more like a seasonal flu. Yes, we saw multiple school-age children get sick, but they got over it.
Still, H1N1 remains a high risk for children under five, for pregnant women and for the elderly.
So why didnít the predictions turn out as expected? And why has the virus stayed off the evening news? Letís attribute its ascendancy to a pre-emptive strike by the Department of Health Services, the local health departments and our local clinics and physicians.
In South Texas, the strike was so wide-ranging and so effectively engineered that more than 25,000 people óincluding many in our area ó received the vaccine. The result now is that registered cases are at a controllable level, with no H1N1 cases reported last month, according to physicians with the Laredo Health Department.
It just didnít turn out to be what we expected.
So where do we go now? The only thing to do is to continue the necessary precautions to insulate ourselves from a second and/or third outbreak. The recommendation is that we wash our hands regularly, strengthen our immune system and, if possible, vaccinate ourselves against the virus.
So there you have it, a brief explanation of what our local health departments have been doing in containing the H1N1 virus and the role each of us should play to help our immune system fight the not-so mythical germs.