Dear Action Line: If we have a birthday party at work and the birthday boy blows out the candles, can we still eat the cake even though it may have been doused with COVID-19? – Hungry but concerned
Dear Hungry: When your coworker blows out the candles, he will be doing so with breath filled with plenty of germy germs and other fun stuff.
All of those microscopic bits will then mix with the other airborne junk already floating around the room, and stand a good chance of going up the noses of your coworkers, landing on their faces and sticking to their clothing and hair.
What are a few more airborne droplets spread among friends? Blow out the candles. Sneeze and drool on the cake. Drop it on the floor. Kick it around a bit. Brush off the debris and dig in.
Basically, whether you eat the cake depends on how comfortable you and your co-workers are with the ick factor.
Claire Ninde, director of communications at San Juan Basin Public Health, said the virus that causes COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets.
“So it is possible to have respiratory droplets fall onto the cake if someone was blowing out candles,” she said. Because some people are contagious before showing symptoms, even if someone was feeling healthy, they could spread the virus unintentionally, she said.
Asked to give examples of other communicable diseases that could be blown on a birthday cake, Ninde said the list includes influenza, common cold, whooping cough, mumps, rubella and more. Ick factor: 4.
Ninde suggested cutting the birthday cake and putting a candle in the slice that belongs to the individual blowing out the candle. Creative solution factor: 7.
Mrs. Action Line (ZumbaKarla, not ArtistAmy, so I guess that makes me Mr. ZumbaKarla) edits this column and suggested everyone send an ice cream cake to the health department for the workers putting in the long hours during the coronavirus lockdown. Aww factor: 8 (puppies are 9).
Mr. ZumbaKarla instead suggests that because most health department employees are working from home these days, call the Durango Police duty sergeant at 385-2900 and request some officers drive by their homes and sing “Happy Birthday.” Or perform jazz hands. Fun factor: 10.
Dear Action Line: So, about those miller moths that are driving me crazy. How to eradicate them? – Still waiting for an answer
Dear Waiting: Oh. Right. An answer. Sorry about that. Last week’s column was submitted with the usual silliness, but a later version had even more silliness and it included an actual answer for you, but didn’t make the paper. My bad.
So, yes, blah blah blah, moth moth moth, quote from local official Darrin Parmenter regarding his cat, which likes to play with the harmless insects until they are properly extinguished. Add juvenile illustrations. OK. All caught up.
According to Colorado State University professor W.S. Cranshaw, on the CSU Extension Office’s website, keep the moths out of your home by sealing the screens and windows the best you can, and dim your lights at night. If any moths still get inside, simply swat or vacuum the little buggers.
Cranshaw said you can make an effective trap by suspending a light bulb over a bucket of soapy water. Moths in your dimly lit house will be attracted to the light, bonk into the bulb, fall in the water, flap around for a bit, curse you and die. There are “obvious” dangers to putting a live electrical cord near water, according to Cranshaw, so be very careful.
To make the trap more effective, he suggested first rousting the moths in your infested house by jingling keys, rattling coins or crumpling soda cans. This will drive them buggy because they hate those types of noises. In the ensuing confusion, you, as moth-herder, can drive them toward the bucket of soapy water placed down earlier.
Outside your house, don’t bother with insecticides because the moth is not very susceptible to toxic substances, according to Cranshaw, and even if you did kill one, another would just pop up in its place.
Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. Action Line believes the best solution to COVID-19 is for everyone to run around in human hamster balls, forever.