One Florida nurse has a message for everyone who’s whipped into a frenzy over the flu right now: “Wash your stinking hands.”
One Florida emergency room nurse, Katherine Lockler, was feeling particularly frustrated after a 12-hour night shift. She recorded this video about the trials and tribulations of combating the flu and the basic lack of awareness many people exhibit.
In the video, she describes the ER as a “cesspool of funky flu,” so if you don’t have an actual emergency, it’s probably best to avoid any ER right now. Her reasoning? If you go in there for one ailment, you’ll probably catch another, namely the flu.
She breaks down the math: “Some of them are not true emergencies, but they’re waiting along with the flu right next to them. So guess what? Five flus came in, 15 flus walk out. It’s great. They’ll be back.”
And you want to know why? People aren’t washing their “stinking hands,” to borrow Lockler’s turn of phrase, and they aren’t use hand sanitizer stations that, if you’ve ever been to a hospital, you know are pretty much everywher . (Lockler says they’re available about every three feet, which seems accurate.)
The pièce de résistance of the whole video may be Lockler’s “magic trick” in which she demonstrates sneezing into her elbow, a recommended way to prevent the spread of germs so your sleeve catches the germs, not your hands (or everyone else around you, if you didn’t bother to cover your mouth at all).
Lockler’s tone is sarcastic — she demonstrates the elbow sneezing in “slow motion” at one point — while still being informative about preventing the spread of flu. Given the frustrating nature of her job, and the lack of basic common sense exhibited about public health, being sarcastic seems like a way to get the message across, especially if polite health and wellness posters apparently aren’t doing the trick.
Speaking to the Pensacola News Journal, Lockler discussed and apologized for the tone of the video — kind of.
“I think there’s a little bit of sarcasm in my voice because the instructions were given so many times and they were not received well,” Lockler said. “I tend to be sarcastic in all my speaking, but if it’s taken wrong, I would definitely apologize to that group that misheard my message because of my tone. The message is still right on the money, but if the tone was offensive, that was not the intention.”
And the message is indeed right on the money, especially this flu season. The CDC reports that we’re in the middle of the worst flu season in almost a decade, with widespread cases of the infection in every state save for Hawaii. So keep your hands clean, avoid the sick if you can manage it and copy Lockler’s germ-blocking magic trick.