I came down with a cold last night. A partner was coughing while we danced on Wednesday. That was a big clue to sanitize my hands after the tanda with him. He coughed into his left hand and then took mine to dance. I never touch my eyes or nose during the milonga for the simple reason I can contaminate myself with a virus.
I stayed away two weeks from the milonga with a severe cough and cold. I had four days without any coughing. I heard others coughing constantly around me when I returned on Wednesday. I went home early to get out of the contaminated environment from all the coughing.
Then last night the symptoms started again. Three days passed since exposure to the coughing partner, who I know gets sick with a cold very often. He didn’t stay home and rest. The virus gets passed on by having close contact and conversation. I sneezed last night and had to use a tissue on my nose. That which I feared came upon me by morning. I awoke today with nasal congestion.
I wish that everyone would stay home from the milongas when they have a virus, but they don’t realize they are passing it on to others. After all, we are in close proximity when a virus spreads.
Why Do We Get Colds?
Colds enter the body through the nose or mouth. The virus can become airborne when a sick person coughs, talks, or sneezes. The virus can also be spread by contact with a sick person.
“Most colds stem from viruses that spread from person to person through close contact,” said William Schaffner, MD, professor and chair of the department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn. “We inhale the virus-laden air that others have exhaled.” Aside from airborne causes, we can “catch a cold” when we have the virus on our hands and touch our face, mouth, or nose.
Some older adults still believe that they catch a cold by exposure to cold weather or air-conditioning. Hence, they have contact with others and pass on the virus.
They don’t do a check at the door when you enter a milonga. If you are well enough to get dressed and travel, they assume you are well enough to dance. Those who are sick seek refuge in the milonga to feel better.
I’ve asked, do you have a cold? and gotten the answer, a little one. That’s reason to step back and keep my distance. Then I use hand gel at the table.
The milonga is so intoxicating that people don’t want to stay away when they are sick. I am the rare exception. I’ll be calling in sick again today to Lo de Celia.