Sneezles and Wheezles


Here’s a little flu-season poetry for you, qua Christopher Robin.

And here’s my public service announcement today on the folk wisdom of preschoolers, from, which, I’m happy to say — because I am a flaming narcissist/former preschool teacher — Andrew Sullivan links to here, with a wonderful Sesame Street video teaching you how not to repulse and sicken your neighbors with your spewing, spraying, sputumnic flu particles.


“Nothing quite gets under the skin like a young child pointing out the negative impact of your incandescent light bulbs and idling car, but in the midst of a virulent flu season and the worst whooping cough outbreak in 60 years, it’s worth listening to the righteous army of Liliputian surgeon generals. These tiny troopers are the advance guard against phlegm; they know how to stop germs in their tracks. Hand sanitizer breaks are routine in elementary schools, and when there isn’t time to grab a Kleenex, children use a strategically placed elbow across the mouth instead.

Unknown-1Walk into any pre-K or elementary classroom in America and you’ll be surprised to see that kids don’t cough or sneeze into their hands anymore. It’s simply not done and it’s easy to see why. Coughing or sneezing directly into a hand that subsequently handles food, money, and other human body parts is clearly a recipe for contagion. The real wonder is that people failed for so many years to spot this simple truth. A typical sneeze can travel 100 miles per hour and spew countless germs into the air. One study found that viruses can survive much longer on objects like dollar bills than originally thought, particularly when found in high concentrations like those from a single sneeze…

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About ErikaChristakis

Yale Lecturer in early childhood education/Licensed teacher/Former preschool director/author. In possession of: unmarketable bachelor’s degree (Harvard, anthropology), semi-marketable graduate degrees (public health, education…). Rewarding career at the intersection of family, society, and schools (including long stint in parenting vortex). Forging a new path to connect all of the above.
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