Thursday, March 25, 2010

Today's Ponderings

When exactly did we start becoming so afraid of a few germs????

I'm wishing these days I had a stake in a hand sanitizing company. There are these sanitizing dispensers at all the entrances to the building I work in and I see more and more people squirting it into their hands when they enter. The union handed out little plastic containers a few months ago. They look more like motor oil containers and for a while I thought motor oil was a rather strange gift. Then I figured out what it really was.

When I'm on the early shift, one of my 'duties' is to wipe down the printer/fax machine/photocopier down with these wipes that look like baby wipes but ARE NOT to be used on a baby's bottom - in fact there is a box next to them with latex gloves to put on while using them!!!

I've had to learn to COUGH differently!! For over fifty years I coughed into my closed fist, but now I have to cough into my elbow. And heavens forbid if I have a sneeze coming and no tissues near me. Just sneezing into my hands is a big no no. I'm odd in that I like sneezing - I find it kind of a head rush - and I've lost more of those enjoyable sneezes than I can count by looking through my desk drawers for napkins or Kleenix. But the time I find them, the urge to sneeze has gone and I'm left thinking 'darn! Lost me another one.'

And I've noticed more and more women at work, when washing their hands after, leaving the water on while they grab a paper towel and then turn the water off using that. Some won't even open the door without using a paper towel.

Now I know there have always been germaphobics - they are probably a certain percentage of the population, but anymore they seem to taking over more and more people. I just don't get it!! We, as a people, are never going to avoid getting the common cold every so often. But it seems to me as if people are freaking out a lot more these days than years ago.

I may be wrong, but it seems that germs can sometimes be a good thing. It helps builds antibodies I think. But if one manages to avoid germs on a regular basis, when one of the little suckers sneaks into the more militant germ avoiders, they aren't going to have those antibodies built up.

Yep - there is some nasty stuff going on out there but let's face it - was H1N1 was overhyped. Working in health care, I was first on the list to get the shots but I didn't. Knock on wood, I haven't had the flu for a number of years, so I didn't see the point. Plus once you start getting flu shots, you have to get them every year and I figure why start when I don't really get it. But my goodness, they pushed for everyone to get them.

But I figure if someone is usually fairly healthy, we don't need to fall for the over hype of the scary germs.

So, I'll continue to be a good little worker bee and wipe down all the machines at work and my phone once every couple of weeks with their sani-wipes, but inside I'll be rolling my eyes.


Phyl said...

LOL, Kristie! Those of us of a "certain age" certainly do wonder how the heck we made it through life this far without all of these precautions. I find myself deliberately avoiding the hand sanitizer (it dries my skin anyway). It's hard to do since I can't walk more than 10 yards at work without seeing one.

Sotheara said...

Kristie (J),
I'm a nursing student and will be graduating in two months, and I do everything you just described. LOL I've cared for patients with MRSA, VRSA, H1N1, etc. so I'm a little more cautious these days, and I make sure to wash my hands thoroughly. I'm not paranoid to point where I'm bleaching myself (yet). I've missed your updates so I'm glad you're back!

azteclady said...

I don't know what the certain age threshold would be :-P but I know that I grew up thinking that "building immunity" was one of those things necessary to life. Ergo, a few germs and a bit of dirt would be good for you rather than bad. I raised my kids on that belief and so far *knocking on wood* seems to be working for all concerned.

(And thank you for the tip on the flu shots, I didn't know you had to keep on having them after the first--I haven't succumbed to the pressure to get them and now I have a great argument for continuing to do so)

Kristie (J) said...

Sotheara: *g* If you see a lot of these things first hand - and I hear hospitals are the worse places to catch a lot of diseases, I can see why you do them and I'd be more cautious myself. But in an ordinary workplace I find it puzzling.
And hopefully I won't disappear as long this time - but nothing much has been happening and I couldn't think of much to blog about. I do have quite a few books to do though.

Phyl: I KNOW!!! I won't use the hand sanitizer since it dries out my hands like crazy and they are already dried and kind of wrinkled looking.

Kristie (J) said...

AL: Your welcome for the warning on the flu shot thing. Yep - once isn't enough if you start getting them. And having two sons, it was next to impossible to keep them from germs. They got colds the first few years when they first started school - and thus myself, but after that - not nearly as often.

Carolyn and Lori said...

Thank you for saying what I always think. What's this sneezing into the elbow thing? Why did we survive all these years without sanitizing every minute?

I refuse to be paranoid. And if a germ is going to get me, I doubt it'll be from a door handle.

Kristie (J) said...

Carolyn and Lori: The coughing into the elbow thing is so hard to get used to!! And I figure unless someone with a really bad cold sneezes right into my face, after I smack them for doing it, or if someone with a serious cold sneezes or coughs into my phone right before I use it and I didn't know they did, I'm pretty safe. Mind you - I wouldn't want to be sitting shoulder to shoulder to someone coughing and hacking the day away, or like Sotheara, working closely with people with very contagious bugs - but other than that, I don't worry very much at all about getting sick. And if I do - I just figure I'll stay home and read between the times I nap :)

Mayberry Mom said...

H1N1 was overhyped Um, yep! I actually got H1N1 (how, I don't know, NOBODY else in my family got it, including my kids!)and I've been more sick with tonsillitis and stomach viruses. I did get a milder version, but other than lack of appetite and being really tired for a few weeks, it wasn't that bad.

Amy said...

*raising hand* I'm a bit more stringent these days with hand-washing and sanitizing things. One night at work, I looked at one of the landline phones in our dept. and about gagged....ewww, ear crud! Ever since then, I routinely wipe down any phone I use.

And you don't even want to see the dance I go through in public bathrooms, not touching the faucet with bare hands once they're clean, etc etc etc. Ugh!

Sorry, but working in a hospital for 17 years has really made me a bit paranoid. LOLOL

Kristie (J) said...

Amy: As I said to Sotheara, if I had first hand experience, I'd probably be more paranoid, but even though I work in the health care industry, it's in an office building and not in a hospital. And I only use my own phone at work and I don't think anyone else uses it.

Mayberry Mom: Back when it was making the rounds, that's all you heard - was how it was going to be the next big pandemic, but it didn't seem to amount to even close to what they predicted it would.

orannia said...

OK, I use a paper towel to open the bathroom door, but that's because I have heard women leave the toilet cubicles and not wash their hands at all or not use soap.... *shudders* I think hygiene is important, but...our immune system does need some exposure to 'get up to speed'

Carolyn said...

I'm with you, Kristy - how DID we survive?

I feel the same way about antibiotics; I see folks taking them at the drop of a hat - and for viral infections yet, like colds, where they won't do a thing, at least not physically. ;-)

There's a lot of things I don't do the way the experts say you should. It's a wonder I'm not dead of food poisoning!

Leslie said...

LOL - I'm always telling my boys to wash their hands. But it's usually after they've gone to the bathroom so I feel it's valid. :)

When my son Ryan was in kindergarten (5yrs old) he was sick so much he missed over 20 days of school that year. But now (4th grade)when he does get sick it's not as bad and this school year he's only missed 4 days. So germs can be good, builds up your resistance.

Anonymous said...

For me, it was when I got MRSA. :-\ If you'd been through what I've been through, you would be germaphobic too.

CindyS said...

LOL - I'm a germaphobe for sure but I hate puking. Everything else, I'm okay but puking is way too much so I do live in fear of the 'flu' (I know people say the flu doesn't cause puking but I grew up thinking of the 24 hour flu where you puked your guts up) and I got my shots.

I've had pneumonia twice in my life and the flu is the starting point for it so yes, I have bottles (Bob buys me them) of hand sanitizer and carry them in my purse and I also use paper towel to get in and out of doors.

I truly believe I got the second flu/pneumonia from a Chapters keyboard. Isn't that just silly but there is it. It was while I was puking up my lungs that I had that memory of typing up a book title and realizing that everyone used that keyboard.

That said, I find it funny that we wrap kids in bubble wrap nowadays.