I know many of us have shared stories on here about being paranoid about germs and wiping down our grocery baskets, then our hands after shopping, but here's a couple some of you may not always think about.
First, after you finish shopping and load your groceries into the car, do you use sanitizer on your hands? What about the cell phone you were talking on while you shopped? Or the car keys you had to touch to unlock the car? Or the credit/debit card you used? What about the door handle you touched to close your car door after you got in? Sanitize your hands then grab your cell phone or keys, or open your door and you've put those germs right back on your hands - and you take them home with you!
I always carry disinfecting hand wipes. When I get in my car after shopping, I always wipe my hands and cell phone off, then after I put my groceries away at home I wash my hands. But in the fall/winter when everyone seems to get sick, I will also wipe off my keys before putting them in the ignition, the inside car door handle and the steering wheel if I touched it. If I forget, it never fails that I seem to get sick.
Here's another one you may not have thought about, and it really grossed me out when I realized it! We like to eat at buffet places like Golden Corral or a couple of local Chinese places. We went to Golden Corral for Thanksgiving a couple of years ago. I followed a woman and child out of the bathroom who didn't wash their hands and watched them proceed to the buffet and dish up their food. It was right then that I realized that there were no telling HOW MANY people were sharing their germs with me at these places! How many people went before me and touched all of those serving spoons? The counter where you might set your tray? The silverware in the baskets? The handle on the ice cream machine? And so on. I can't tell you how much it turned my stomach to think about the fact that I was eating my meal after touching things that had been touched a hundred times by people who may have picked their nose, gone to the bathroom, changed a diaper, sneezed/coughed, or picked a chunk of meat out of their teeth - without ever washing their hands after! And you should have seen the look on my husbands face when I told him what was on my mind - I though he was going to lose his dinner right there! LOL!
So, since that moment, I never go to a buffet place without sanitizing hand wipes. We all wipe our hands and the handles of our silverware off as soon as we sit down to eat. If I forget the wipes, we all go to the bathroom and wash our hands. Golden Corral around here keeps gallon jugs of sanitizer at the registers for people coming in, I've used it before after I've dished up my food.
Here's another quick one that I just remembered. My son had to do a science experiment in school this last fall. He chose to test for germs on the things we use to wash our dishes and see what was the germiest. As a control, we had to buy new items (sponge, washcloth, and bottle sponge/brush) which he tested right out of the packaging before we used them for several days and tested them again, swabbing everything on petri dishes and letting them grow. What really amazed us is that every item that was new out of the package tested positive for bacteria. That means they were contaminated before they were ever used! Not enough germs to make anyone sick probably, but it was surprising anyway!
Anybody else have any unlikely places we may be picking up nasty bugs without thinking about it that you'd like to share?
By Lyons Pride from Tulsa, OK
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Train yourself not to touch your face, especially your eyes or mouth. Then you don't have to worry about washing down every little thing. Just wash your hands before eating, after going to the bathroom, and before blowing your nose, etc. and you'll be fine.
Wow, you seem to have a germ phobia! I don't do any of the things you mentioned and I wasn't sick one time this winter. It's best to build up an immunity to germs instead of always trying to be germ free. But thanks for your point of view.
First, I would like to say that these tips are meant for people who have health issues & have to take extra precaution against being exposed to things that could make them sick. There are more people like that than you know. So please hold your comments about being germaphobic, because unless you've been on the other side, you aren't going to understand. Some people have low immune systems, some people can't build an immunity.
If you are a person with a healthy immune system -no,you don't need to follow these precautions.....but please wash your hands & teach your children to do the same, you might be making a huge difference in someone's life!
I guess I need to explain a bit why I seem so germaphobic, becaue people who are young & healthy may not undestand - I used to be like you myself when I & everyone I loved was healthy also. "You need to be exposed to these things to build up your immune system"-yes, I agree to a point, but people with immune deficiencies can only build their immune system so far.
My germ phobia started 14 years ago when my 2year old son was diagnosed with leukemia. He had 2 1/2 years of chemo. We were taught that it wasn't the leukemia we had to worry about, as much as it was him getting sick. He had a very low immune system, at times he had absolutely zero immunity! We had to be extremely careful about taking him out in public for fear of what he could catch and it wasn't just from people being sick around him,it was the stuff they left behind. Putting him in a grocery cart could land him in the hospital on IV antibiotics from all the germs left there.So that's when I started carrying around sanitizer wipes & wiping everything down, insisting everyone wash their hands as soon as they came in the door, especially from school. My baby had 3 episodes in the hospital on IV antibiotics to fight off something he picked up somewhere, I saw other kids who weren't lucky enough to fight it off-that means I know a child who was beating his cancer but died from something he caught! And another boy who'd been in the hospital four months because of a staph infection he'd picked up.
We weren't even safe going out to eat with him. Once my older son happened to use the restroom at the same time as our waiter & observed the man urinate & mess with his hair, then leave without washing his hands! This was the same man who served our drinks,brought our food & handed my son a pack of crayons! That is so disgusting and it happens all the time! Watch how many people don't wash their hands before they leave a public restroom!
The biggest thing we had to worry about with my son is staph infections-and he had a few of those too. Staph germs are everywhere, but they are spread by touching your nose or going to the bathroom & not washing your hands.
My 73 yr old mother has 2 autoimmune disorders/diseases. She also has kidney disease. She has to be careful because it means her immune system is not as good as other people, she gets sick more often, catches things easier & it's harder for her to recover from it.
I am diabetic.Diabetes lowers your immune system, you catch things easier & it's harder to get over it. I didn't know about it for at least 2 years before I was diagnosed & I didn't understand why I was always getting sick & couldn't shake it off. I constantly had a cold or sinus infection,I caught everything that went around,I had that bad flu that went around & I had a couple of MRSA infections on my leg. Every time I went to Walmart & didn't disinfect the cart or wash my hands when I got home, I got sick. Being around my grandkids when they were sick was a guarantee I'd be sick(and I used to think my grandma was a hypochondriac when she told me the same thing about herself!). Now with my diabetes under control, things are better but I still have a higher susceptibility to getting sick or catching things & it's harder for me to recover because it throws everything else off!
There are a lot of healthy people in this world with fantastic immune systems. I used to be one of them, I was never sick, I went for 7 years without getting the flu-now I have to have a flu shot every year. Germs on door handles, carts,etc., probably won't hurt people like you. But, even you are susceptible to things like MRSA & the H1N1 flu.
But while it may not bother you because you never get sick, you are part of the problem because if you don't think you need to wash your hands(or your kids' hands)you are taking those germs of yours & the ones you pick up elsewhere & spreading them around to everyone else - some of whom may not be able to fight off what you gave them!
And now I will step down off my soapbox, again. I know I've been on this rant before on here, but this is something important to me because there are too many people around who don't think they have to do anything,even wash their hands, some even believe they are helping people by exposing them to things in order to build up their immune system. They don't realize how many peoples' lives they may be having a very adverse effect on!
One more thing, you may not have to worry about the germs you are exposing yourself to, but think about people like this who touch those serving handles at the buffet or the grocery cart at the store and be warned, it's gross & disgusting,so read at your own risk,it made me nauseated to even write it, LOL!: Someone who coughs or sneezes into their hands (or picks their nose) then you touch what they put their snotty hands on! The little girl who uses the bathroom & has trouble wiping herself. She doesn't wash her hands,then touches everything in sight.
I worked at my kids' school & once caught a little boy eating lunch with filthy hands-when I asked him what that black stuff was under his fingernails, well, let's just say he missed when he wiped his bottom & had dried feces under his nails!
How many people have you seen change a baby's wet diaper & not wash their hands? they are effectively distributing their baby's urine to everything they touch. A man who urinates, doesn't wash his hands, then fills his plate at the buffet, absolutely disgusting to think about!
A kid who pets his dog, who has ringworm. Did you know you can get pinworms from someone who has them & doesn't wash their hands after using the bathroom? That might be something extra you pick up at the buffet?
Someone who has 'pink-eye' wiping their runny eyes while they shop. The cashier who not only doesn't wash their hands after using the restroom, but touches everything everyone else has touched, then hands you a pen, and so on,and so on.
I agree you should simply make it a habit to not touch your eyes and mouth but also not even your nose opening or a finger in your ears unless you have just washed your hands. Thumbs up for the food for thought (no pun intended) but keep in mind that over sanitizing your hands isn't a healthy idea and especially with the hand sanitizer cloths and gels that contain alcohol and/or triclosan as ingredients.
What I do when going to a restaurant is go into the bathroom just after ordering my food, wash my hands while singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (No, not out loud but that might be kind of fun - LOL) and use the paper towel I dried them with to open the door. If no paper towels are available I use a bunch of TP instead because of the thought of how many people don't wash their hands after going poddy :-o
I also want to mention that my immune system is severly compromised because of Stage 3 Emphysema (diagnosed over two years ago now) and only had one cold since then (which immediately was given antibiotics for) because a friend came over that had a cold. Needles to say all family or friends have been told to stay away from me since then if they even think they have a cold or flu coming on. I also only go shopping or to a restaurant at hours when they aren't busy. It's mainly just a matter of common sense.
Lyonpride, I just read your comment follow-up:
"And if you think that you don't need to take precautions because YOU & YOUR family are healthy, think again because it's people like that who cause problems for people with immunity problems. People who don't wash their hands, their kids hands, or go out in public coughing,sneezing,etc. & touch everything, don't realize that they could kill someone!! And don't think you can just avoid people who "look" like they are sick, you can't always tell by the way people look!"
Bravo for sharing that to those who don't think a bit about and understand how their actions can harm others. I do not hestiate telling people near me in public to cover their mouths now and explain why. Most people are kind and say they are sorry and don't cough or sneeze around me without covering after that. The rest is common sense for your own particular situation.
I agree with Vivees, we spend TOO much time sanitizing everything, ask any doctor they'll tell you they sanitize not to spread germs from one patient to another but the over sanitizing stuff leads to us have weak immune systems, a little dirt ain't gonna hurt.
I teach elementary school-age children, and we teach them to cough or sneeze into their elbow (the crook, or bend, of it) rather than their hands. I also ask students when they come out of the bathroom, "Did you wash your hands?" Sometimes they will admit they didn't and I send them back in to do so. All my students know that I love them dearly, but I don't love their germs!
I'm somewhat of a germaphobe. However, I do believe that kids should be allowed to play outside in dirt, mud, snow, etc. and just get cleaned up afterwards But one time I was at a buffet and a guy was coughing and sneezing all over the food. That turned me off from any kind of buffets and salad bars forever! Gross!
There is no escaping germs and bacteria, we live in a sea of them. I can appreciate though, that some people find it necessary to take rather extreme precautions. With compromised immune systems, their very lives may depend on them doing so.
I haven't researched the figures, but I would be willing to wager that most colds and flu are acquired through the transmission of pathogens via the hand to mouth/eyes/nose/face route, rather than through the airborne pathogens route.
I am reasonably clean when I cook for myself. I do take further steps when preparing food that others will be eating. When cooking for others, my first rule is that I never touch my face or other parts of my body without washing my hands before proceeding. My second rule is that a hair net is a must.
I don't eat in public facilities as I had rather prepare my own food. When I did though, I saw some gross behavior. Once, a waitress was taking my order. She used a very short pencil to write it down. She kept the pencil wedged over her ear. Well, the pencil became lost in her hair and she had to do a lot of fishing around in her tresses before she retrieved it and wrote my order. With these same unwashed hands, she prepared salads for people. My last visit there.
On another occasion, I visited a small hamburger joint. While waiting in line to place my order, I watched as the cook rubbed mucin from the corner of his eye and then with those same unwashed hands, grabbed a bun for making a hamburger. I walked out.
On the other hand, I use to frequent a small diner where the cashier/waitress kept a cloth lying on the counter by the cash register. The cloth was wet with a dilute household bleach solution. She wiped her hands on this cloth before and after every transaction. A very good practice that only took a second.
My pet peeve is exposed hair. I remember when state boards required that all those who prepared or served food, kept all their hair covered at all times. Later, in some cases, they were permitted to go without hair nets, providing they wore enough hair spray that it served as a net. Examiners have been known to feel a waitress's hair to determine if enough spray was used.
Now, particularly in fast food places, all workers expose their hair; their dandruff laden, processed, Jerri curled, jello dyed, and even natural, nasty hair. And let's not forget the dollar per foot of locks purchased at Sally's. It seems that state board has determined that a tiny visor like 'cap' which covers about 5% of the hair is sufficient. The employees may as well be wearing nothing on their heads.
I have seen these same simple minded state board examiners grant an 'A' grade rating of 105%, or more. Totally ridiculous. If an establishment complies with every state ordinance, it should be granted a 100% grade. How can it possibly be cleaner than it can be?
I would like to see a return of the old rules concerning exposed hair. I'm sure that will never happen. Being able to display ones latest 'do' (or ones dread locks, which haven't been washed in 6 months) is obviously more important than a customer's health.
My Mama, who was very clean, used to say "A little nastiness wont hurt anybody. If it did, we'd all be dead".
How glad I am to hear someone dislike the condition of hair habits in the food industry! Why did this all change? It was most likely because someone felt it was their "right" to wear their hair however they wanted. I do not eat out very often but I still find the "hair" habits offensive. In the past, I have left a restaurant (without ordering) on numerous occasions because I noticed someone with unhealthy hair preparing food.
I notice this also on most of the food TV programs and no one seems to even notice!
At home habits can be different than public habits but I like to see everyone conscious of good clean practices.
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