Monday, June 22, 2009
Health Teaching Gems
In a recent shift, I met a young man who had a few questions about the transmission and pathology behind influenza. Since it was a quiet lull in my day, I relished the opportunity to flex my teaching muscles and started by asking him to describe what he knew so I could proceed from there. He knew that he should wash his hands and cover his mouth when sneezing or coughing but he did not know how that prevented flu’s spread. The conversation eventually led to me explaining how the virus essentially hijacks cellular machinery to assemble millions of copies that burst out of the cell thereby destroying it. He became slightly confused and in order to clarify the concept, I asked him to imagine an overcrowded place in which people are pushing to get out. Lost deep in thought, he stared at the wall behind me before his eyes lit up and he triumphantly announced, “the virus bursts out of the cell like hookers from a cake!” Flabbergasted at such a crude, yet visually effective analogy, I had no choice but to enthusiastically agree!