Nobody Wants Your Germs
Cover Your Mouth & Wash Your Hands
I’ve seen some pretty nasty things being done in regards to the spreading of germs that are so easily prevented if but only a few steps are taken. I am not an obsessive germaphobe on a mission but rather just a person who doesn’t want to get sick because of someone else’s carelessness and only wish to pass along some useful tips and practices. For me it’s not just about the preventative spreading of germs but manners as well.
I have seen a lot in my years in regards to poor hygiene and lack of manners but in this day and age with the ever growing knowledge about the preventative spreading of germs, I would tend to think people would get it.
Preventative Actions to inhibit the Spreading of Germs
Cover Your Mouth when you Cough or Sneeze
How about covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze! Use a hankie or kleenex or your sleeve if one is not available. Even when a person is not sick with a cold or flu it’s a great habit to get into. A sneeze can travel at 100 mph and land as far as 30 ft away. A cough can catapult up to 3,000 droplet of saliva into the air at a speed of up to 28 mps and can stay suspended in the air for up to 45 minutes.
Think about that! This is how many germs are spread and when people are sick it’s how the viruses spread to new hosts not to mention the gross hard booger that just might fly across the room and stick the the wall. Yeah, I’ve seen that happen.
Depending on where the research takes you, the speed of travel, the amount of saliva and the time the germs linger will very but what fact remains is that the germs will travel and spread. It’s up to everyone to do their part to hinder viruses and bacteria from spreading.
Although cold and flu viruses do not live long on the skins surface, typically up to an hour, if hands are not washed the spreading of these germs is more likely to happen. These germs can live on surfaces much longer than on the skin or on paper such as a kleenex. On kleenex viruses and bacteria can live up to 15 minutes while on surfaces it varies between 6 and 24 hours.
Washing the hands is a good habit to get into.
The time to start is at an early age.
Washing hands is not just limited to when one is sick with a cough due to cold either. I cannot count the amount of times I have seen people exit their stall in the washroom only to leave the room and go on their merry way without so much as thinking about laying water to their hands. I have even witnessed people FAKE it. Yes, fake washing their hands. Can you imagine?! This is one reason why I NEVER EVER touch a restroom door handle. I wash my hands and use a paper towel or my elbow or something other than my hand to open the door exiting the washroom. I mean think about it, I don’t know if this person got crap on their hand and didn’t notice, picked their nose or who knows what else. This is one reason why I am loving establishments that are opting not to have an external door on their restrooms but rather an open doorway because not having to worry about other people’s germs after I just washed my hands is a great thing.
Use A Tissue or Hankie to Blow Your Nose Into
I can’t believe I feel the need to say this but jeezus carry some tissue with you or something to use to blow your nose into. I know right! It’s one of the most disgusting things to see let alone hear. Imagine someone standing next to you placing their finger on one nostril then blowing hard. You can’t help but look over in disgust just as all their gooey, gross boogers are flying out of their nose all over the place. Heaven help you if there is a breeze because the jet-setting slime will get carried by the wind and if you’re lucky it won’t land on you. Yes! This happened to me. I was infuriated when this persons snot blew onto me. Worse yet was this person had his kids standing next to him. Then his kid does the same thing and you know what happened?! Yup, you got it, this parent gave his kid crap for not asking for a tissue and blowing his nose into it. First of all, I was dumbfound because if he had a kleenex why in the hell did he not use it himself? and secondly, why yell at his kid for doing what he just did. Well, I had to say something! It was not well received to say the least but I just couldn’t let it slide by.
This is one thing I have noticed more and more and the most unfathomable of all this is the fact that these adults who should know better and have common sense and manners are saying to their kids do the exact opposite of what they are doing.
Ummmm – hello! If the child isn’t seeing you do what’s right, how the heck are they going to learn?! Spreading of germs aside, for me, it’s about manners as well. I try and not relate the manners of a child to that of the parent but it happens. A lot of kids learn by example and copy what the parent does. Parents need to lead by example. If you are blowing your snot all over the place, chances are your kid will as well. You can’t give your kid shit for not washing their hands, covering their mouths when they cough or sneeze or blowing their noses into something other than the air if you – the parent – doesn’t do those simple things as well.
Now, I’m not trying to be a germ nazi and I do get that at times sneezing or coughing into the air is unavoidable. I have done it myself when my hands have been full and it was just too awkward trying to nestle my mouth into my arm to sneeze or cough into. That said, I always practice good hygiene and passed that onto my son starting at a very young age. Often, I corrected him when he would sneeze into the air but after a while he got it and was happy that I was able to get him ready for that big day- his first day of school. I was really naive at the time and tricked myself into thinking that because I taught my son how to prevent his germs from spreading, that all the children would have the same ways as well. Boy was I wrong and my son was home more often than I care to count. As a teachers assistant in my sons class, I watched kids wipe their runny noses into their hands and onto their clothes and so many more gross things. I often asked myself – why?! Were these kids not taught simple hygiene practices. Some kids attended school with full blown flu, cold and worse yet – diarrhea! Now, I must admit, I did send my son to school when he had a cough or the sniffles but I did keep him home at the onset of sickness and when it was at it’s worse. I never meaningfully sent him to school with diarrhea either. What I did find out was that most of the children who were sent to school in these states were those who were in single parent households who needed to rely on the school system as a babysitter or those who children whose parents both worked and again needed to use the child going to school as a means for child care. When speaking with the parents they didn’t have the funds to pay for external day cares or child care. At that time, I really sympathized because I was a single parent but fortunately for me, I had my mom who I could rely on if I needed anyone to watch my son for me.
The one drawback that came out of keeping him home when he was sick became evident as he grew older and entered the workforce. He wondered why he would get an attitude from his bosses for wanting to stay at home every time he got a cold or flu or otherwise feeling unwell.
I know there have been many an argument over this topic. “If you’re sick – stay at home!” and that looks great on paper but I’m a realist and the world just doesn’t work that way. Some people get sick more often than others, such as myself. If I so much as look at someone with the flu or a cold, I get sick. I tend to stay sick for a much longer period of time and being prone to pneumonia isn’t the most pleasing thing either but I won’t put my lack of immunity to these viruses on others.
If this was a perfect world every time someone got a sniffle they could stay home until it’s run it’s course and we are right as rain again. Unfortunately, this world is not perfect and it’s impossible to do so. If there ever comes a time when employees can get paid for any amount of sick days they need to take off so they can support their families, maybe then and only then it can happen. I realize that life doesn’t stop because we are sick. People often need to go into society to work and go to school. What matters is how we try our best to stop the spreading of our germs to others. One way is to stay home when you can! The outing to a theme park or places such as a restaurant can be put on hold. We as parents need to set the example for our children and the next generations to come.
I have often thought to myself, where did good hygiene go? manners? common sense? It’s my belief that all these things begin at home. I’ve often heard the argument that what we do in our home is no ones business and we will do what we want. That if they want to pick their nose and chew it because everyone is doing it thinking it’s some sort of candy – they will. If they want to go to the washroom and not wash their hands afterwards – they will. True, to a point, it really isn’t my business what others practice in their home but when these people step outside of their home, I believe it becomes my business and if we practice and implement these actions at home, they tend to be followed and done outside of the home as well.
When I was young, it was instilled into me and my siblings that we covered our mouths when we coughed or sneezed. We used a tissue to blow our nose and not our shirts and we always carried something with us to do so. I learned at a young age to have kleenex with me at all times and I still carry some with my to this day. My mom always had tissue in her purse or bag when we went out. We washed our hands after using the washroom and before and after every meal. It became second nature and so when we went out into the world of people, we practiced our good manners and hygiene as well. I thank my parents for instilling this in me because it set the framework for me to be thoughtful about others and gave me the skills to pass everything along to my son. Mind you, my tactics might not have been so stringent as my parents but nonetheless my methods worked.
Sometimes children are more receptive to learning good habits when it’s not constantly being drilled into them by their parents or teachers. Even when kids are following our lead, it’s always nice to have an outside source to back our play so to speak. There are some great books out there that can help get the conversation started at a young age.
Germs Make Me Sick by Melvin Berger
Germs are not for Sharing by Elizabeth Verdick.
Let’s all do our part to keep manners and good hygiene alive if not for ourselves but for our family, friends, neighbors and all the other members of our community as well. It starts at home.
*wash hands after using the washroom and before/after eating
* keep surfaces clean such as faucets, door handles, keyboards, phones
* cover your mouth when you cough/sneeze
* carry tissue/kleenex when going out
* have hand sanitzer on hand when washing hands is just not available
Do our part to kick viruses and bacteria to the curb or at least prevent the spread.
Why am I a bit passionate about this? The very young and elderly are the most at risk. My mom is always in a lock down of some sort at her long term care facility because of someone on the outside bringing their cold/flu germs into the building while visiting a family member. So many times I have been unable to visit my mom because I have needed to wait until the virus has left the building – so to speak. When I am sick, I stay home. I do not go visiting her and put other not only her but other residents at risk.
My grandson, who is only 2 months old had to make a trip to the hospital to have fluids pumped into him and stay better than a few days because someone who was sick felt the need to spread their germs to him.
People need to start thinking about others before leaving their home and interacting with people when they do not have to. Put off that visit with a parent or visiting family/friends if you are sick. I’m sure they will certainly understand.
Vaccinations are another way to prevent the once rampant spread of diseases and viruses but that is a whole other topic for another day.
Opinions in this post are honest, and my own. I have not been compensated in any way.
Christine is a mom, grandmother to an energetic 6yr old and newborn grandson born January 28th, 2018. Christine is also a fur mom to one ‘fur baby’, a dog named Tracker who is never far from Christine’s side. A devoted gardener, during the spring and summer months Christine can normally be found tending to her flower and vegetable gardens. Living in Southern Ontario near Lake Erie, Christine enjoys spending time outdoors and is an avid hiker. She also loves doing small diy projects in her spare time.
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