Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Wash your hands please

I love my job. The most important reason is that it's part time and flexible. The second reason is that I love the women I work with. All of them. And that is unusual in the work force - we all get along and respect one another.

I have a job-sharing partner who is a perfect compliment to me (we're the exact same age born one day apart). We're both meticulous, we have a system, and together we're a well-oiled machine.

But yesterday, into our little office paradise, walked one of my co-workers bringing with her a horrible, horrible, coughing, hacking, mucous-flowing illness. I think, during the course of the day, she used a whole box of tissue and hopefully a whole bottle of germ-killing hand sanitizer.

Throughout the day, I felt a fear creeping up on me...the fear of catching this dreaded illness. This is the season, after all. The season of the COLD!

So, you ask, how can I be one of the fortunate few to avoid this?

It's simple:

1. Wash your hands. Before you eat. After you go potty. Before you touch food. Whenever you think of it and happen to be near a sink. And not just a quickie - lots of soap, scrub (don't forget between the fingers), and sing "Happy Birthday" to yourself while you are scrubbing. That's about how long you should wash your hands.

2. Carry hand sanitizer in your purse. It's cheap. Comes in all sizes, all shapes, all brands. It doesn't really matter. What does matter is that you use it. Someone insists on shaking your hand? Use your hand sanitizer as soon as you can discretely get away with it. (And while we are at it - avoid shaking hands if at all possible).

3. If you must go potty, put down the lid before you flush. Do you know what gets aerosolized every time you flush? Do you know what microscopic germs fly into your face when you are facing a toilet and flush?

Use your imagination for a minute.

Now that you have that image in your mind, next time you use a public bathroom that doesn't have a lid remember to turn your face away before you flush. And please flush. There is nothing grosser than a public toilet that hasn't been flushed.

Hey, and don't forget to wipe it down with toilet paper before you sit (if you're a sitter rather than a squatter). If you like to line the seat with tp, please make sure it all gets flushed down afterward - that's pretty rude, not to mention disgusting, to leave it for someone else to take care of.

4. Did I mention washing your hands? After you use a public bathroom, grab a paper towel to use to turn off the faucet. While you're at it, use a paper towel to open the door with. Fling it wide and then make your best shot at the trash before the door closes. Public sinks and public door knobs are the dirtiest of the dirtiest.

5. You know what else is dirty? Grocery carts. Think of all the sick people who go from the Dr's office, to the grocery to get their scripts filled and pick up the essentials that you need to have around when you don't feel well. Some local groceries offer wipes at the door to wipe off the cart handle - use them. If not, whip out the hand sanitizer and use it on the cart. Seriously.

6. Drink lots of water. Lots. My friend Donna would say to make sure it is filtered water.

7. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Organic if you can get them. I know, they are expensive, but who wants to eat chemicals and pesticides?

Like my gardening trug? I just got it for Christmas from the Gardening Sister. Thanks Carol!

8. Remember my sick co-worker? She has a brand new grandbaby. Her first. She really, really wanted to go visit him yesterday. But, I had to gently, kindly, and diplomatically ask her....

"Are you crazy? Do you want to get a one week old baby sick?"

"I'll wear a mask."

"Is it worth the risk? Will he even know you are there? It's not like he's 3 years old and can't wait for Grandmert to come play with him!"

No. Sorry. You can't go. It would be selfish and wrong. When you are sick, you should STAY HOME. The rest of us don't want it. AND never go around babies or old people if you can avoid it. They don't have the best of immune systems. STAY HOME!

9. Get plenty of rest. Yesterday I went into work in the middle of the night. I took about a 3 hour nap before I went in. Then, I worked for 11 hours, came home and crashed again. After about an hour, I felt a "flick" on my back.

"You ready to get up honey?"

NO. Leave me alone.

I haven't figured out yet why people don't realize that when you work nights, you still need to sleep AT LEAST 8 hours. They seem to forget that while THEY were sleeping, YOU were working. Sigh.....

Anyway...8 hours. And, as my friend Jill would say, when you feel that afternoon slump, it's important to listen to your body, and it's OK to take a nap. It's OK.

10. Did I mention you should wash your hands?

Here's to a HEALTHY 2008. Happy New Year!


Carol said...

Oh my, I barely have time to comment as I feel a need to go wash my hands and then go and wipe down every surface in my house, and then wash my hands again.

I'll be back later, I have to go wash my hands!

eleanor said...

Point taken. Wash your hands. Now if we could just keep the cats off the furniture-----

Charmaine said...

Sherry -- you are such a good writer! Guess I'll go wash my hands. Hmmmm.... I bet this keyboard is nasty...

athomemama said...

love it. your blog is my new fave! thanks for the helpful hints on getting thru this flu/cold season.