Words of Wisdom: Poison!

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Contributing Editor Walt Pickut
Contributing Editor Walt Pickut

Sometimes I am amazed at the warnings on some products.

I actually have a package of fish hooks that has a warning label to make sure I know: “Not to be taken internally.” Except by fish, I guess.

And for the hunters, how about the MDW Outdoor Group’s fox/bobcat urine powder label: “Not for human consumption.”

People will do the stupidest stuff. How about one more? Warning label on a box of rat poison: “Has been found to cause cancer in laboratory mice. Do not take internally.”

My point is that some people actually have to be warned against doing very stupid things. At the moment, it’s poisons that worry me. The dictionary defines poison as: “A substance that is capable of causing the illness or death of a living organism when introduced or absorbed.”

But maybe I’m being a little too critical. There are accidental poisonings that happen to ordinary people. In U.S. hospitals more than 50,000 children under age 6 are treated for accidental poisoning with medicines every year.

And sometimes poisoning comes with the best intentions. During January to March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic exploded on the scene, hospital poison centers received 45,550 poison exposure calls related to cleaners and disinfectants that people used to excess.

But this week, the Jamestown Gazette cover story is about a very special kind of poison that is killing tens and hundreds of thousands of people.

It is a poison that, once taken internally, no matter how small the amount, copies itself over, and over, and over again—until your body is filled with a million times more of it than you originally took in. It is a complex chemical poison that is not alive but it can make you sick and even kill you.

That kind of poison has a special name: Virus. A virus particle is not a living thing. It is not a bacterium or a parasite. It is only a chemical blueprint that your body uses to make more copies of it. And it kills every cell in your body that makes the copies. A virus is a horror show poison.

So why are some of us willing to take that poison in? One of the nastiest ones around right now is the Influenza virus, kissin’ cousin to the Covid virus.

Most people would wear gloves while using caustic chemicals, or while cleaning up spilled rat poison, or would wear shoes while sweeping up broken glass. It’s common sense. Keep poisonous, dangerous stuff out of your body.

That’s why I’m so mystified by people who won’t wear a mask when there might be poison particles in the air they are breathing or get an inoculation against a virus. A person only needs one particle of it for the body to fill itself up with it.

A flu virus particle, or a COVID virus particle, or even—as everyone knows by now—a single Aids virus particle is poison. The kind of poison that can force your body to kill itself to make more of it.

This week your Jamestown Gazette wants to keep as many of our readers alive and healthy as possible.

The way to stop those particles is to teach your body how to stop them. That is what vaccines do and that is what immunity is. It is a poison antidote for viruses.

All you need to stop the flu is a simple little jab of a flu shot. Job done! Poison stopped.

Please stay safe and be well. And of course, enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.