The season of sickness is upon us

Garrison Ebie

That time of year has arrived when many of us seem to be getting very sick, or at least exaggerate our symptoms in order to skip class. Whatever the case, diseases are in the air. Dormitories, classrooms, house parties and living rooms are transformed into giant cesspools teeming with a fair share of some pretty brutal microscopic organisms that want inside your body real bad.

Normally I don’t get sick. Aside from the typical snotty nose and bad case of coughing my lungs up for a day or two, my good health is never on the line. I was one of those kids in high school who had amazing attendance because I couldn’t even fake a fever. But as all good things do, that came to an end last week when I felt like an incoherent zombie fresh on the trail for a good batch of brains.

This was miserable. I could hardly even talk. This is the worst I’ve felt since I had some trouble with the fresh vegetables at Chipotle a few years ago. Not to say I’m ever a real sight for sore eyes, but I looked especially terrible one afternoon, and no sooner did someone take my sickness completely out of proportion, then to say .

“Dude, maybe you have swine flu!”

First of all, no – I did not have swine flu. I do not know the overall symptoms of swine flu, how one acquires swine flu, or even how likely I was to have swine flu. But I was certain that people like me don’t get swine flu. The only thing I am certain about when it comes to swine flu is that a lot of people are afraid of it.

My column today is not about swine flu. Maybe if I was not ill and didn’t have two papers to write and an exam to study for, I could have done some research and ripped a new one in the entire fabricated newsworthiness of swine flu, but that’s not what I feel like doing this week.

Instead, I feel like informing the student body of some diseases and health issues that we should have a more realistic reason to be worried about. There are a lot of viruses and poisons out there that humans can die from, and most of them don’t get nearly the kind of attention they should be getting. So to finish up this weeks’ column, here’s some stuff that we should be a hell of a lot more worried about than swine flu.

To begin with, I want to mention sexually transmitted diseases. Yes, I know. This is risky subject matter, but for no good reason. This is college, and, well, you know what people do in college. Do yourself a favor and get one of those anonymous tests. Maybe they have them at the DeWeese Health Center. Regardless, get checked out one way or another. Unlike swine flu, many of these diseases stay with you your whole life.

Next, cellulitis won’t last forever, but it is certainly annoying and easily preventable. This is what happens when you have an open cut and it gets infected with bacteria that invade your skin cells, causing the surrounding tissue to inflame up to about twice its regular size. Cellulitis usually occurs because someone is too lazy to just put on some disinfectant and a bandage. I had this problem on my hand in May and couldn’t move three fingers for a week.

Then there’s dysentery, and this one can definitely put anyone down in the dumps. Generally speaking, those infected with dysentery end up spending a lot of time on the toilet seat, making the whole room smell bad enough to need a surgeon’s mask. If left untreated, those infected with dysentery may also eventually vomit blood and die. In America, most cases usually come from bacteria and parasitic worms finding their way onto uncooked food. In other places in the world, the people just have really bad water.

Anyway, the point of all this nonsense basically means that, even if you’re sick, you shouldn’t freak out about swine flu. Just be happy you don’t have any of the problems listed above. Even if you’re not sick, for crying out loud, don’t share your lunch with anyone who is and try a daily supplement of Vitamin C.

Garrison Ebie is a senior electronic media production major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].