Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I am not a germaphobe..

I was beginning to think that I was a germaphobe, so I did a google search, found a quiz and completed it honestly and found that I was 47% germaphobic. Take the quiz here.




Unfortunately some of the questions didn't contain what my answer would have been, so I had to pick the next best. For instance question 4.



My response would be 'Sure, you can have it because I am finished with it' (and if they insisted on returning it to me I would throw it away. My second choice answer would actually be very specific - 'only if the sipper is my husband'. There were also other questions where my answer wasn't on the list, so I am guessing that I probably do tip over the 50% a little.

Germaphobes, according to this website are suffering from OCD

What got me going on this train of thought was seeing a colleague coming out of the bathroom with a paper towel in his hand, he balled it up and threw it in the waste bin by the water fountain. I realized why he did that when someone in the ladies bathroom dried her hands before turning off the tap, and then turned the tap off using the paper towel she had dried her hands with.

I think if I were a full blown germaphobe, I would already be doing all of these things and more, but clearly, at my age, I am still able to learn and might just aspire to being one. Because as soon as I gave the matter some thought I became much more aware of what I was touching in the bathroom. Yes! I always wash my hands thoroughly after I use the toilet - my grandfather taught me how to wash my hands when I was about 4 years old. I remember it vividly and think of him every time I wash my hands since. I am appalled by the number of people who use the toilet and walk straight out without even a token splash of water on their hands. I have even seen these same people head from the bathroom to the kitchen and handle food. We are talking here about in the office, so touching food that the rest of their colleagues will probably also touch, or have already touched, and possibly eat.

The idea grosses me out so much that I don't eat any of the masses of food supplied to us free at work; except perhaps the fruit which can be washed and peeled.

But come back to the bathroom with me for a moment. The more I thought about it the more I realized that washing your hands is not enough. Let us take one example: Person One enters the bathroom and goes into the cubicle, uses the toilet, at the very least wipes her private parts though other more gross, but necessary, activities are also possible, and I would rather not think about the possible unnecessary activities. She then flushes, whether she uses her hand or her foot to flush, the result is that at least some germs have been transferred to the handle, and existing germs on the handle from a previous users have now joined her own germs on her hand, should she use that method. Next she unlocks the door, more germs switch between lock and hand. If we are lucky, she will wash her hands. Germs again do the switch between tap and hand, assuming the tap is not motion activated (I am beginning to love them). Our soap dispenser is motion activated, as is the paper towel dispenser, the tap is not. So, we will assume she does a decent job washing her hands and many germs are removed, unless she scrubs like a surgeon, not all of them. Then alas, she touches the tap again to turn it off - ahhh germs return to the hand. then she will dry her hands with a disposable paper towel, good because those cloth towels are surely crawling with germs! Then she firmly grabs the handle of the door to exit. All those germs from the girls who didn't wash are sitting on the handle along with a few from those of us who did wash but can't remove everything, besides we touched the tap.

So what to do about this?  I have now started dispensing paper towels before washing my hands so I have them ready, drying with the paper towels and using them to turn off the tap. I wave at the paper towel dispenser one more time and use that final piece to cover my hand while exiting and then ball it up and throw it in the waste bin.

OK, maybe I am a germaphobe but at least I am not a very good one, as all of this just occurred to me recently. What else am I missing?