Editor Speaks Out: We should all be germaphobes!

By on February 6, 2008

I hate doorknobs. Better yet, I hate railings. And worst of all, I hate public bathrooms. Some might call me crazy; others might just call me a germaphobe.

I have always been a very clean person. Even as a child I never liked to get dirty. My mother once told me that I would cup one hand under my mouth every time I took a bite off of a fork (so to not get anything on my shirt), or I would put a towel down in the sand box before sitting (I am actually glad I did that, because I recently found out that some kids pee in there).

I haven’t gotten any better from my childhood. I pull my sleeve over my hand before opening doors and press elevator buttons with my elbow. I disinfect everything, not once but twice and one day, I tried to count how many times I washed my hands. After 8 hours, I was already up to a whopping 42 times. That is about 5 times in one hour! I can’t help myself. Germs just freak me out. I can’t see them, but I know they are there. I might wash my hands a little too much (I use at least one large bottle of hand lotion a week), but what confuses me is how people do not wash their hands at all.

According to CNN.com, a lot of people lie about washing their hands after using a public restroom. 97 percent of women said they washed their hands, but really only 75 percent of them did, and 92 percent of men said they wash their hands but only 58 percent really did. And get this; only 20 percent of people admitted to washing their hands after handling money and only 31 percent of people said they wash their hands after sneezing or coughing into it.

CNN interviewed Dr. Julie Gerberding and she said that, “your hands are the most important means from which germs travel from one person to another.”

I do not see any reason for people to not wash their hands. All it takes is a quick 15 to 30 seconds and maybe another 5 seconds to dry off with a paper towel. (A little tip: never use a hot-air dryer, because all that does is blow the germs in the bathroom air right back onto your hands).

Another thing that really bothers me is all the myths that everyone believes about germs.

One that I have researched a tremendous amount is the public toilet seat. A lot of women refuse to sit on the toilet seat and I don’t blame them, but according to an article on ABCnews.com, a desk top had over 400 times more bacteria than a public toilet seat.

Want to hear more? When a woman decides to not sit on the toilet seat, but puts her handbag down on the bathroom floor, she is getting 2 million bacteria per square inch from the floor onto her handbag. Then she picks up her hand bag and plops it on her work desk, where she later eats lunch. Kind of disgusting, right?

According to Microbiologist Amy Karen of Nelson Labs, hand bags can contain many different types of harmful bacteria such as pseudomonas (which can cause eye infections), staphylococcus aurous (which can cause serious skin infections) and salmonella and e-coli. Karen also found out that hand bags that are frequently brought to night clubs were one of the worst, picking up feces and even vomit. Sounds appetizing huh?

Here are some other myths that I will gladly break for you today. The kitchen is said to be the cleanest room in the house, but is actually the deadliest germ-infested room of a house. A dog’s mouth is not cleaner than a human’s and sharing makeup is worse than putting a hand bag on a desk.

So I hope after reading this you will realize that maybe I am not crazy and maybe being a germaphobe is a very good thing.


About Alicia Staffa