It's so obvious that we wonder why we didn't think of it before.

It took the novel coronavirus to put it right in front of our faces, literally.

The mask.

Since COVID-19 appeared, the face mask has become a regular part of life. Kind of like security checks before entering the waiting space at an airport for the past 19 years.

The result theoretically is that the masks prevent, or at least help, prevent the spread of the virus.

But lo and behold, it isn't only helpful for COVID. It appears to do as well with colds and flu, of which the traditional high-point in the season is about to begin.

It's likely masks will become part of the arsenal against these seasonal diseases.

Another tool in the cabinet is flu shots, which are available locally now. We're no health care professionals, but it might be a tool to employ this year in particular; no sense in risking both the flu and COVID simultaneously.

We wouldn't want to experience that, and doubt most others would, either.

And a flu shot not only protects an individual, but it protects individuals from us and what we might contract.

As we saw in the spring, there's no telling what kind of disease might come along. But we do know some handy ways to be ready when the obvious ones do.

Get a flu shot. Wear a mask when feeling poorly with cold and flu symptoms. Wash hands regularly. And smile.

Smiling doesn't ward off disease, but it will make you feel better.