Monday, November 14, 2011

A Public Service Announcement...GERMS!

I've been meaning to write this post for a long time. Reid would tell you that I've become phobic about germs, but I would disagree. However, ever since his stem cell transplant we've become much more diligent about fighting germs. Since we're going into cold and flu season I thought I'd share with you what we've learned.

Germs are everywhere, but I haven't had a cold in two years. Jim had one last Christmas and Reid had one right before the stem cell transplant (his immune system was definitely depressed at that time), but other than that we've stayed cold and flu free.

Our best friend is hand sanitizer. You can even find coupons here for Purell hand sanitizer. We have a bottle in every vehicle and carry a small bottle with us at all times. The hand sanitizer has to have alcohol and we buy sanitizer with at least 62% alcohol. Granted, we live in an area with a lot of humidity so the hand sanitizer isn't too drying on our hands. I would imagine it would be very drying in the colder climates, but you could always carry a little bottle of hand lotion too. The hand sanitizer usually contains some moisturizer, but I notice here on less humid days my hands feel dry. Of course, I also clean my kitchen counters constantly with Clorox Clean Up With Bleach and that is partially responsible too.

I don't have any small children, but I still remember the constant runny noses in the winter. I have bought in Office Depot very small bottles of Purell hand sanitizer that hang on a plastic clip and can be attached to a belt loop, back pack, lunch box, etc. The little bottle can be refilled. They have them right on the counter by the register or use the link above to order online.

When you start thinking about germs you start noticing where they are located. At Kroger I buy First Aid Antiseptic Rubbing and Massaging Wipes that contain 70% alcohol. It's Kroger's own brand and I use these wipes for my cell phone, the regular phone, computer keyboard and mouse, TV remote control, light switches, toilet handle, faucets, door knobs, etc. Just anyplace in the home that everyone comes in contact with. I don't wipe these things daily, but I would if someone had a cold.

You can't just carry that hand sanitizer with you. You have to use it all the time! Every time you get back into your vehicle get in the habit of using the hand sanitizer. Whenever you walk out of a store use your hand sanitizer. Think about all the things you touched in the store...including the door handle...that everyone else touched.

Don't get me going on filthy shopping carts. I personally think Target has the dirtiest shopping carts, but it could just be because the dirt shows up more on the red carts. Kroger's carts are gray...the color of dirt. Back in the 1970's I shopped at A&P in Virginia. I used to see them power washing the carts on a regular basis. I have never seen that done since and I can't help but wonder how often (if ever) the carts are cleaned. I always use the sanitary wipes that the stores usually supply at the entrances. If they're out I go to customer service and ask them to replace them. I recently heard on the news that there's more e coli germs on shopping carts than on toilet seats. We put food in those carts!

Any store with a pharmacy is loaded with germs. That's where sick people congregate. The counters, door handles, etc. are contaminated. You can't ever forget to use your hand sanitizer there!

Do you ever charge something? Yes, use your hand sanitizer after using the pen that everyone else uses. Think about all the things that are touched by everyone...escalators, ATM machines, parking meters, vending machines, gas pump handles, etc. When you start becoming aware you just automatically reach for the hand sanitizer.

When we arrive at a restaurant we put a bottle of hand sanitizer right on the table. As soon as the waiter collects the menus we use hand sanitizer. I don't think too many places ever clean the menus. I recently read that germs like hard surfaces like menus. Think of how many people touch the menus. Three people before you might have had a cold or wiped their nose while looking at the menu. Gross...huh? And we always use the hand sanitizer after touching any condiments on the table. Yes, everyone touches those too. If you go to the salad bar...use your hand sanitizer. Everyone touches the spoons, ladles, etc. The same thing with a buffet. Use the hand sanitizer as soon as you return to the table.

Speaking of restaurants...I absolutely hate it when they put the bread on the table with a cutting board and knife. Everyone at the table ends up touching the loaf of bread while they cut their slice. That's a pet peeve of mine. I skip the bread.

Reid pointed out to me the balls that kids play in at fast food places. Actually, all the stuff kids play on at those places are full of germs. Yes, they should definitely wash their hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer before eating their food!

Washing hands is the best option, but not always convenient. However, when washing hands I always sing Happy Birthday to myself silently two times. That's a good thing to teach kids. You want those hands thoroughly washed. Be sure and use antibacterial soap. When leaving a restroom I use a paper towel to grab the door handle and then use my hand sanitizer too. I hate it when they don't have paper towels or they don't have a trash can by the door. Ken Hoffman is a columnist for the Houston Chronicle. He says that if there isn't a trash can by the door you should throw the paper towel on the floor. He claims the next time you visit that restroom there will be one there. I don't necessarily endorse this practice, but you can carry the paper towel with you until you see a trash can. Throw it out and then use your trusty hand sanitizer.

Church...a germ haven. Why do so many churches have everyone shake hands at some point during the service? And the minister...he/she is full of germs. Everyone shakes hands with them. Do not forget your hand sanitizer on Sundays. The church I've been attending keeps bottles of hand sanitizer and boxes of tissues on the pews. Great idea! I'll be honest...communion now concerns me a little. There are individual cups for wine, but the bread worries me. Did the person handing out the bread use hand sanitizer? I've decided that at the height of cold and flu season I'll probably skip communion. I phobic? I used to believe that you had to be exposed to germs in order to build up resistance. I never used hand sanitizer until Reid was having chemo and the stem cell transplant. Among other things, the hospital stressed washing hands and using hand sanitizer.
I'm now a firm believer.

You get sick mainly by touching your face, rubbing your eyes, etc. We all absentmindedly touch our faces way more than we realize in the course of a day. I think germs are spread more by our hands than by being in the vicinity of someone coughing or sneezing. (However, I always try and move away from those people as quickly as possible.)

So, wash those hands often and use that hand sanitizer!


  1. You're so right...... there are germs everywhere and more!!!

    I'm off to wash my hands!
    Thanks for all the reminders, especially at this time of the year.

  2. Betty! We could be twins! lol I feel the same way that you do about germs but I've not went to the extremes that you go to. I will say that back when I had my daughter 14 years ago I used to carry around a bottle of Lysol! lol They didn't have those wipes back then. You could see me spraying a cart right there in the parking lot! lol I use the antibacterial wipes in my truck. I use them when I get back in and I wipe down the steering wheel and the door handle. I use them after getting gas and when I touch money. I use them out of courtesy to others after I blow my nose! I too have worried about the communion bread! lol I try my best to just touch the one I'm picking up and I try to get one that I don't think someone else was near. I am going to use your advice about the menus! I haven't been doing that one.

    You can get those little bottles of hand sanitizer at Bath and Body Works that smells really good. I buy those for my daughter and she carries those with her at school and has one attached to her lunch box.

    I was freaked out at the hospital last week.


  3. I only wash my hand after I use the bathroom. Of course, I also do a lot of dishes and cleaning floors, so my hands are in some kind of cleaner for the better part of the day, unfortunately.

  4. A girl after my own heart. And tell me why do people who are sick go to movies, out to eat, church, shopping. Stay home and get well. A cold is just a cold to a lot of people but for me it goes right to my chest.

    Amen sista. Sandie

  5. AMEN, AMEN, AMEN!!! Betty, I really enjoyed reading about your "germ phobia" because I could have written this post! You did, however, open my eyes to a few things that I may have overlooked in the wipe-down process. Thanks for the additional tips!

  6. OOPS, my daughter, Karen, didn't write the above comment, I did! Didn't change the user!!!

  7. What a post. You are so right about it all. I used to just shudder at the thought of my little son playing in those plastic McDonald's balls. You know how filthy they were. I can remember groceries washing their carts, too. Grocery carts absolutely gross me out. They are filthy.


Thank you for taking the time to visit my little world and leave a comment. I appreciate hearing from you.

I do not receive all comments by E-mail and I'm not exactly sure why. I do try and remember to check the actual blog so I won't miss any of your comments.

I do not belong to Google+ and regret that I am unable to leave comments on Google+ blogs.

WORD VERIFICATION: I have NOT set up word verification for comments. However, every so often it appears on my blog even though I have chosen NO in the settings. Please let me know if you encounter word verification when leaving a comment so I can try and fix it. Thanks.