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An Ounce of Prevention

by Lynn Dove  
2/07/2012 / Health

It started with a twinge of a sore throat, then I started to feel a little achy and now it's developed into a full-blown head, nose and throat cold. What is it you're supposed to do...feed a cold, starve a fever or starve a cold, feed a fever? I'm too sick to care.

I told someone last week, that it would be a miracle if I didn't get sick after substitute teaching the junior highs last week. It seemed no matter how much hand sanitizer I used, the germs would not be held at bay. Sitting in front of me was a young man who sniffled and sneezed and coughed in my direction through most of the class. I looked into his bloodshot eyes and felt such pity for him. He should have been home in bed but he was "toughing it out". Words I had just said to my own son the week before when he had complained of a head cold. "You can't miss too much school." I said. "Just tough it out!" I regret saying it to my son now...perhaps it was he that coughed his mucus-seeking missiles in a teacher's direction that day. Perhaps he had unknowingly targeted the same teacher I was in subbing for today. Certainly he wouldn't have purposefully set out to sneeze all over his unsuspecting teachers or classmates, but once launched, the germs would have been given their marching orders to seek out the most vulnerable in the room. Lucky me.

It would be so easy if there was some kind of invisible "battle armour" we could wear that repels cold germs. Something like shark repellent maybe...although I suppose if a shark wanted to bite you, spraying him in the face would probably just make him madder and the consequences would be the same. It's like that joke about Grizzly Bears in Alberta...tourists are warned if they hike to make lots of noise in the back country and carry "bear bells" to "scare" bears away. The theory is that bears would rather not cross paths with noisy, bell-carrying tourists. The joke is: what do you usually find in bear scat (droppings)?...Answer: berries and bells. Get it?

So the same sort of holds true when it comes to warding off colds. I'm constantly telling my kids that they should take precautions to prevent getting sick like: take your vitamins, don't go outside without a coat on, get plenty of rest, eat right...wait a minute...I did all that!! The sad truth is that even with my taking the best precautions...a persistent cold germ still managed to get through. I hate it when my kids are right and I'm wrong.

"Why bother wearing a coat Mom? If I get sick, I get sick."

"Why bother taking vitamins Mom,what good will they do against a cold? If I get sick, I get sick."

Why this? Why that? "If I get sick, I get sick." I know there is a point to my telling my children over and over again to take care of themselves so they don't get sick, but truly logic fails me when after all MY precautions, following MY own advice, here I am sick with a cold. It's unfair. No wonder they pointed and laughed at me this morning all bundled up in my cozy blankie, sniffling and feeling sorry for myself, as they headed out the door to school after having stayed up until nearly midnight playing computer games. They didn't have coats on, they hadn't eaten a decent breakfast. I'll bet they didn't even swallow one vitamin this morning!

So, why do I bother to nag at them to put on their coat, take their vitamins and all the other stuff I prattle on about that makes no difference to the pesky common cold? I mean if they get sick, they get sick, right?!


"Bless you!" says the Father.

"My (child), do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones." Psalm 3:1-8

Lynn is a Christ-follower, a wife, a mom, a grandmother, a teacher and an author. Her blog, "Journey Thoughts" was the 2011 Winner of a Canadian Christian Writing Award, and she recently launched a new blog for authors about authors called "Word Salt".

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