I work in a School of Public Health. I don’t have a health background, I have an education background. I write curriculum for the School of Public Health. I work with a panel of nurses to ensure that the curriculum I am writing is clinically accurate. It’s a challenge, but a good one.
This morning I walk into the school in which my office is located and see a sticker on the door. It is a picture of a bat and it says, “If you see me, don’t touch me! I could have rabies. Tell an adult immediately.” Hmm, I thought to myself.
I wonder how frequently people see bats around this campus? We’re not in the middle of a metropolis, but we’re also not really in the middle of the woods either. I feel like there have to be a fairly significant amount of bats to warrant a warning. I haven’t seen any, but I’m new around here, so I guess it’s a problem.
Then I wonder, how many children are walking around on the college campus without an adult? Probably not many, but I suppose it makes sense that we want to make sure that that minor group of children is protected. So we will protect them with these stickers.
And then I wonder about the adults. I’m an adult. So I guess if some kid sees a bat, he will make sure not to touch it, and then he will tell me. Do you know what I would do if a kid told me he saw a bat? I would say, did you touch it? (No). Did it bite you? (No). That’s good, because sometimes they can have rabies. Which I no longer need to tell the kid, because he has already read the sticker, which is why he told me in the first place. So then he doesn’t really need to tell me, because he already knows as much as I know.
I ponder these things as I walk up the stairs to my office. I’m chuckling to myself, thinking, really, what the hell would I do if some kid told me he saw a bat. My first response would probably be, oh, cool. By the time I sit down in my chair I realize, I am probably a fairly irresponsible adult. Cleary the sticker is instructing the kid to tell me because I am going to do something. Should I know what to do? Would you know what to do?
So I googled it. You can google anything. There’s lots of info on what to do if you find a bat in your home, but do you know what they say to do if you see a bat outside? Don’t touch it. If you’ve touched it, or if it’s touched a pet, then it’s a different story. There’s a chance it could be rabid and you could have rabies, in which case you would need medical treatment.
So after all of that, I think they should draft a new sticker. It should say, “If you see me, don’t touch me! I could have rabies. If you’ve already touched me, have an adult contact a doctor immediately.” This seems more logical, so that some poor rabies-ridden kid doesn’t end up sitting, sharing “cool animal” stories with an uninformed adult the likes of me.