The need to get the needle, but some problems could be impossible to resolve

by Colin Campbell

A NOTIFICATION on getting the flu jab arrived a couple of days ago. I thought that at least was some positive news on body and health maintenance. The last local NHS letter I received arrived five months ago to tell me that an annual health check I get, not a minor one, had been cancelled. And I’ve heard nothing since, although maybe I should have phoned up, but like many other people when it comes to these things I tend to do as I’m told, and assume they’ll get in touch when the time is right.

I’ve not taken up the flu jab invitation since it was first offered, which was no doubt negligent on my part. But I certainly won’t miss this one.

It could be a case of join the queue, because it’s difficult to see why anyone would fail to welcome being injected this winter. Any protection from illness could be a godsend.

Some questions arise about the months ahead which are so difficult if not impossible to answer that you wonder if Bojo, Sturgeon and their phalanx of experts have even started considering them.

As the most obvious example, what’s going to happen if everyone sticks rigidly to the warning rules regarding virus symptoms?

A young family I know very well – a husband, wife and two primary school children – during the past couple of weeks were a clear case in point.

One of the children developed a persistent cough. So mum phoned in to the local care home, where she works in admin, and was automatically told not to go into work. Dad works from home for the time being so it didn’t directly affect him. The other child stayed off school.

The little girl was taken up to the testing centre at the UHI and went through, for a child, the unpleasant testing experience. The following day the results came back negative, so life resumed as normal, on Wednesday.

But then at the weekend dad developed a persistent cough. So they were again all off work and school for another two days until his test result came back, negative as well.

Just about everyone gets a cough over winter, and in families with children it’s universal. If everyone has to stay at home for the duration until test results are received half the country won’t be working at any one time.

The tests are efficient and the results, in this area at least, are very quick, although that’s obviously dependent on the number of people requiring tests, which will soar during winter.

Many workers, particularly those who are hourly paid and can’t afford to be regularly off duty, will just turn up at their jobs regardless. And the consequences of that are just yet one more worrying unknown.

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