Moms helping fight swine flu

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 6, 2009

There is apparently something in the news about some kind of flu. The stories of it have dominated media coverage across the globe, and admittedly, yes, our front pages as well.

It was interesting how the swine flu coverage spread like the flu itself, starting with some media in Mexico, spreading to the network stations in New York.

There were some stories on the front pages of the national newspapers and then as it inched closer and closer to Alabama, state newspapers like The Clanton Advertiser began writing stories of local impact on the flu outbreak.

But, as the coverage of the flu outbreak wanes, I came across a strange connection between the swine flu and Mothers Day. I know, strange connection, but bear with me.

As we and other media outlets from around the state received daily releases from the state department of public health, each release ended with personal hygiene tips aimed at preventing the spread of the swine flu.

But, these are suggestions we’ve all heard before and suggestions our mothers tried to teach us as we grew up. See if you can hear your mother telling you the following:

Cover your mouth when you cough.

Use a tissue when you sneeze.

Wash your hands with soap and water.

Avoid touching your mouth, eyes and nose with your hands.

Don’t get close to those who are sick.

As I read each release, I honestly heard my mother in each case. I heard her telling me to say “thank you,” “yes sir” and “yes ma’am.”

It’s amazing just how many times — the swine flu included — that motherly advice has often come back to be the way to do things.

As I’ve grown up, gotten married and moved on in my career, I’ve often called both my mother and father to say “thanks.” And, in each case, that “thanks” has often been followed by an apology.

The connection between the swine flu containment and motherly advice isn’t as far apart as you think. But, I am going to have a hard time convincing my mother that writing about her and a pandemic was a good thing. There’s another apology.

Happy Mother’s Day, mom.

– Tim Reeves can be reached at