I am not really a germophobe — I’m not as bad as Howie Mandel, anyway — but with last fall’s media frenzy surrounding flu season, and specifically H1N1, it was easy to get a little paranoid. After all, germs are everywhere, all the time. There’s no way to avoid every germ — and trying to do so isn’t the best health strategy, anyway. We need to build up our resistance, and coming into contact with a few germs is where it starts. That said, there are always cesspools of germs that you just want to avoid.
Here is my quick list:
– Water fountains — When people are sick they drink water. Countless germs are transferred onto the handle, and even the spout.
– Prayer books — People are more likely to go to church even when they are sick. Just think about all of the hands (and coughs) that grace holy books.
– Vending machines — Again, lots of people and lots of hands, but how often are they cleaned, especially in public places?
– Public bathrooms — I know they get cleaned, but still … urinals that don’t flush automatically or toilet handles — yuck!
– Elevators — Whether you are crammed in or touching the floor buttons, there is no quick escape. And think of all the hands that touch floor buttons.
– Public pools — Lots of germy hands and feet.
– Hotel fitness centers — No thanks, I’ll run outside.
– ATMs — This is my all time greatest germ fear. Every time I drive up to an ATM machine, I just know it never gets cleaned.
The question today is how concerned are you about germs, and what, if anything, do you do about it? Where do you fear the greatest exposure to germs? Most supermarkets now provide sanitizers next to the carts. I had a Latin teacher in high school who carried a can of Lysol in her bag and sprayed it before touching a phone or other public property. Our bodies can fight many germs, but when you’re sitting on an airplane or a subway/train, the sick do make themselves felt. Are there places you try to avoid in order staying well?
In the 2011 Farmers’ Almanac, we have a must read article titled 10 (Easy) Ways to Boost Your Immune System. You can read a preview here. Maybe if Howie read this, he wouldn’t need to be so afraid …