Sickness doesn't have the last word

It's almost routine. After the spring reports about allergies and the summer warnings about the dangers of sun exposure, here comes the late-fall discussion about flu season. This year there has been much coverage of the difficulties encountered in the United States in getting enough vaccine soon enough. It's almost as if one should mark the calendar and count on the certainty of seasonal disease. Is there something wrong with this picture? We think so.

No one needs to live in the constant expectation of sickness; yet, this is often what people have come to believe is natural and normal. The depiction of disease as inescapable and inevitable shows up in public discourse, spurred on by reports in the news, and advertisements for pharmaceuticals. These messages, delivered day after day, imply that one should spend more time planning for sickness than for healthy, normal activities. They encourage a passive acceptance that getting sick is not so much a matter of "if" as it is of "when."

This is the end of the issue. Ready to explore further?
December 6, 2004

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