A Germaphobe's Guide to Not Getting Sick

It’s January. The rain is falling. Ponds are frozen. Ugg boots are everywhere. It’s the flu season.
If facts are facts, you have a pretty good chance of becoming sick this month. Besides taking Vitamin C and avoiding your sick friends, what can you do to stay healthy? Most doctors or professionals would give you the run down of statistically accurate and proven methods, but it is only a true germaphobe who can teach you, young grasshopper, the ways of the wise.


Image courtesy of The BC Lung Association.

I’m not sure when I became weary of germs, bacteria, and dirt. As a child, I used to get sick all the time. That probably wasn’t helped by my initial thumb sucking habit that eventually turned into nail biting. If I put in some research, I would probably find that my germaphobia correlated with the onset of acne in my teens. Like any teenager, a fresh zit was my worst nightmare, and the idea of touching my face with grimy fingers fresh off the school computer keyboard sounded like the worst idea known to man. So, I started washing my hands before and after every class and multiple times in between. Among other methods, this has prevented me from getting sick dozens of times. I literally cannot remember the last time I was ill and I have memory of throwing up only twice in my life (neither due to illness).
There are many little habits and tricks I practice to stay healthy without being a paranoid Howard Hughs type.
1. The Basic: Wash your hands all the time. Just on the bus? Wash your hands. About to eat? Wash your hands. At a networking event? The gym? For heaven’s sake wash your hands twice!
2. The Subtle: When someone in close proximity to me sneezes, coughs, or blows their nose, I usually try to hold my breath for 30 seconds. This might sound strange, but my own personal theory is that it takes about 30 seconds for those germs to settle away from my breathing air.
3. The Strategic: When I open any doors, especially those in public rest rooms, I do several things. The first option I look for is if I can use a paper towel to touch the door, hold the door with my foot, and then toss the towel into the garbage. If that’s not possible I will use my shoulder, elbow, or sleeve covered hand to push the door open. If its got a doorknob, I will try to use my sleeve or limit my grasp to just a few fingers.
4. The No-Brainer: I never share cups with anybody (unless I know for certain they are not are have not been sick). Usually I blame that on the fact that I am also needlephobic and never got my meningitis shots, but I’m thinking that probably doesn’t make a difference. You think I would be down for swapping spit with a sicky?
5. The Biotch: I won’t take care of you if you’re contagious. No soup. No cuddles. I am not touching your snotty tissues. Nope. None of that.
If you want to avoid illness this winter, give these germaphobe-tested tricks a try and you might just fly right through to summer without a sniffle.

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