DEAR ABBY: May I make a plea to all physicians? Please remove the magazines and children's books from your waiting rooms! Again and again, I see patients sneezing and coughing over and around these materials without covering their mouths, and handling them with contaminated hands.
The next patient who innocently touches one of those items puts him or herself at risk of infection. The same applies to children's toys, if they are provided in waiting rooms.
My advice to patients, and to parents of children with appointments, is to bring their own reading materials, iPads, laptops or needlework to pass the time waiting for their doctor's appointment. Parents should bring a favorite toy for this purpose.
Let's all work together to keep our germs to ourselves. Thank you for getting the word out, Abby. -- EDYTHE IN TENNESSEE
DEAR EDYTHE: That's excellent advice, and something people rarely think of. Children frequently put their hands in their mouths -- and adults who touch the furniture and doorknobs in doctor's offices should wash their hands before touching their faces. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure -- and it's less expensive!