Jill Nutter/Jillian Kent

Secrets of the Heart, The Ravensmoore Chronicles, Book One is Jillian Kent’s debut novel that released in May 2011. Jill is fascinated with human behavior and how our minds work, and understands the mind, body, and spirit connection. She is a full-time counselor for nursing students and possesses a masters degree in social work. Jill is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors and is passionate about mental health and wellness and stomping out the stigma of mental illness which is evident in her novels. You can reach her at jill@jilliankent.com and explore her website at www.jilliankent.com, and the website for the national alliance on mental illness is http://www.nami.org/

The Well Writer

Going to Conference? Don’t be a Typhoid Mary

Richard MabryMary Mallon worked as a cook in the early 1900s. In 1906, although she had no symptoms of the disease, she was the unwitting carrier of the dread disease typhoid fever. Since that time, the appellation Typhoid Mary is given to persons who spread infections to those around them, often quite innocently.

The annual conference of the American Christian Fiction Writers in September will bring together a huge group of people from all over the United States and other parts of the world. And it’s a certainty that some of them will either be ill when they leave home or become ill while at the conference. None of us wants to be a Typhoid Mary. Can we do anything to keep from spreading our germs?

Most respiratory illnesses are spread by droplet contamination. Droplets of saliva from a cough or sneeze that are transferred to hands can live from two to eight hours—plenty long enough to be passed on to another person. Years ago most of us formed the habit of covering our mouths with our hands when we cough and sneeze. Now that’s changed. Ideally, we should sneeze into a tissue, which we should dispose of as soon as possible. If we can’t do that, we should cover our mouths and noses with our sleeves.

Having said that, it becomes pretty obvious that a major part of prevention is hand washing. Here’s the Centers for Disease Control suggestion:

• Wet your hands with clean running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.

• Rub your hands together to make a lather, and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

• Continue rubbing your hands for at least twenty seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.

• Rinse your hands well under running water. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry.

Can’t wash your hands? Use a commercial hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. These can kill most—but not all—commonly encountered germs.

Would taking the flu vaccine help? Definitely. Although flu season supposedly doesn’t start until winter, significant outbreaks occur every fall, and for years I’ve taken my flu vaccine in early September. What if you get sick anyway? Unfortunately, patients with flu are still infectious up to ten days after the onset of symptoms, although Tamiflu, one of the new anti-viral medications, can shorten this (and the course of the illness) slightly.

Lest you decide to forego the ACFW conference and hibernate in a plastic bubble, realize that these common sense precautions can go a long way in keeping you well. Can they get you an appointment with an agent or editor? Sorry, I can’t provide a prescription for that. You’re on your own there.

Dr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician whose debut novel of medical suspense, Code Blue, garnered rave reviews and was repeatedly ranked in the top 50 medical thrillers on Amazon. His next two books, Medical Error and Diagnosis Death, both received critical acclaim, including a 4 ½ star rating (the highest given) from Romantic Times Book Reviews. His fourth novel, Lethal Remedy, is scheduled for publication this fall. Richard and his wife live in North Texas, where, when he’s not writing or trying to improve his golf game, he tries to be the world’s best grandfather.


Secrets Of The Heart