I do not think there is an actual medical diagnosis of being labeled a germaphobe, the real medical definition lumps it in with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I think of myself as a germaphobe in the sense that I generally try and avoid situations that are likely to spread germs, but (for the most part) it does not cause me to enter a loop of repetitive compulsive behavior. As an environmentalists this presents some interesting conundrums like cloth or paper napkins, what types of household cleaners to use, whether to use the manual door or automatic one while entering Target, how often to run the HEPA filter and air exchanger at home, and more. I have made clear decisions on those minor dilemmas and am comfortable with my choices. Each side of the decision could be argued infinitely without a concise victor and in my opinion would be a waste of energy as the choices are not going to result in significant change to the environment.
In general, when presented with a choice between potentially getting my hands filthy with someone else’s germs and using a product to eliminate that chance, I will error on the side of the product use. One example is exiting a restroom, if there is no way out of the restroom short of grabbing the door handle, you can bet I am going to use a paper towel to escape or if I am lucky, time my exit with someone else doing the door touching. In my experience, about 10% of men do not wash their hands when exiting a public restroom even if someone else is there. I would guess that percentage is higher when no one is around. A place I work at frequently now has touchless toilets, sinks and soap dispensers, a touchless Dyson hand dryer, and motion sensors on the restroom doors. I feel so clean leaving there that I could have on scrubs and be heading in to surgery.
The CDC states that you should wash your hands in the following circumstances. I think there are a few clarifications that should be made to this list so I have amended it below for your reading pleasure in an effort to help keep you sanitary this cold and flu season.
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food, especially after leafing through an un-sanitized restaurant menu that has been touched by countless people before you
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick. In addition, after someone in your home has been sick, it is recommended to sanitize every light switch, TV remote, Xbox controller, and everything used as a handle
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- When using a public bathroom sink that is not touchless, it is recommended to use your elbow or a paper towel to shut off the water.
- After touching a public door handle or an un-sanitized shopping cart
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After interacting with a child or touching anything they might have come in contact with
- After putting your families clothes in the washing machine
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
- After using someone else’s cell phone
- After driving someone else’s vehicle
- After using public transportation
- After putting your fingers in a public bowling ball. Note that bowling and eating should never be mixed.
- Lastly and most importantly visibly cleanse yourself after contact with your employees and do not under any circumstances share your headset
Hope you enjoyed and got a smile