Friday, November 30, 2012

Yuck! Don't Touch That! Part II

It's that time of year again! The air is cold. Frost covers the ground. Time to dig out the winter jackets, hats, and mittens from the back of the closet. People huddle close to keep warm while walking in a winter wonderland. That's right, folks! It's cold and flu season! I've shared before that I am not a "sanitizer mom." Rather, I am a hand-washing enthusiast. (Re: Yuck! Don't Touch That!) However, during the winter months, I kick up my hand-washing reminders for the kids. I refill the soap dispensers near every sink with moisture rich soaps to keep our hands from drying out. I'll even break out the Lysol to wipe down door handles and light switches. I read somewhere that the cold does not bring illness. Instead, the cold forces people into close quarters where the warm air is re-circulated and germs have a captive audience.

So far, my family has not suffered from the flu or a bad cold. Knock on wood. Unfortunately, the "ick" is all around us... The Hub's co-workers come to work with the stomach flu, other parents send their boogery kids to school, or we simply stand in the check out line at the grocery store with someone who is dangerously close to coughing up a lung. People don't stop when they are ill anymore. It's not like the good ol' days of The Brady Bunch, when Jan sneezed twice and Carol Brady called the doctor. No, life is too busy for a cold. We push on and infect anyone who gets in our way. 

"Mike, Cindy has the sniffles.
I think it's time to quarantine the children and burn down the house.
It's a cesspool of disease in here."

The Disney channel runs a PSA to remind kids to wash their hands and to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth during cold/flu season. I believe that it is a pretty simple and effective way to avoid the common cold. My kids, however, struggle to grasp the concept. For the last few weeks, my daughter, S, was on a mission to pull a loose baby tooth. It was her 5th one and she wanted to get her dollar from the Tooth Fairy. I would constantly catch her with her fingers in her mouth, wiggling that little tooth. She would get off the school bus, wiggling her tooth. She would walk through the grocery store and help me place items in the cart, wiggling her tooth. She would play outside or with other kids and wiggle her tooth. No matter how many times I told her to stop, question the cleanliness of her fingers, or remind her of the millions of germs dancing on her hands, she wiggled that tooth. I am so glad it finally came out last night. 

My daughter, B, always has something in her mouth. When she was a baby, just learning to crawl, B would roll over on her tummy and pick at the living room carpet, looking for loose carpet fibers. As soon as she found one, she would put it in her mouth. Earlier this year, I spent a whole day in a panic, trying to figure out if she swallowed a penny. She recently gave up her binkie. The Hub and I were tired of searching for misplaced pacifiers and when she lost her last one, we told her she was out of luck. After a week, she stopped asking about it. But, now she likes to chew on pencils and pencil erasers. Hands touch pencils... um, yuck. If I got a nickel for every time I told her to stop putting stuff in her mouth, I could pay someone else to tell her for me.

Lately, we've had the heat on in the house. I've noticed my contacts have been dry and irritating my eyes. I have a pair of eyeglasses. I don't like to wear them. They're wire frames circa 1994. The lenses are too thick for the frames which makes it look like I'm wearing coke bottle glasses. They also don't fit my face correctly. The nose piece highlights the bump on my nose from when I broke it during a softball game over 20 years ago. I don't get dolled up to go to the store, but I refuse to wear my glasses out in public. I should get new glasses. I wish I still had my pink plastic frames from the 80's...  I hear they're back in style.

I had glasses like these, except they were pink.
Back then, I looked like a dork. Now, they would call me a hipster. 

Getting back to the contacts...

While at the grocery store yesterday, my eyes were really itchy and dry. So what do I do? I reached up and rubbed my eyes. I stopped mid-rub. Holy hell, my hands are dirty from touching the shopping cart handle! Visions of Staphylococcus aureus, Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa danced in my head. I swore I could feel my eye getting pinker by the minute. As soon as I got home, I took out my contacts, flushed my eye with saline solution, and wore my ugly glasses the rest of the night. Right before I went to bed, my eye was sore and kind of goopy. I think I might be okay now, since I woke up without a crusty seal of mucus around my eye and the white of my eye is still... well... white. 

Why am I so worried about pink eye, you ask? I used to work with a real jackass. One day, he overheard an emergency phone conversation I was having with S's daycare teacher. S woke up from her nap and her eye was very pink and I needed to remove her from the daycare immediately. My co-worker said in a very loud voice so the rest of the office could hear, "Pink eye comes from touching your own poop and then rubbing your eyes! Your kid messes with her own poop like a monkey! That's disgusting." See? Told you he was a real jackass. Now, I know that was not the case and my daughter is not a poop-throwing monkey. But, I was mortified that someone would say that (even in jest) about my kid. Now, every time I hear that someone has pink eye, I think of poop-throwing monkeys. Which makes me wonder how many other people think the same thing? 

I call my kids "monkeys" ONLY because they like to climb on things...

Moral of the story? Don't be a poop-throwing monkey! Wash your hands and don't touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. I wish you and yours a very happy and healthy winter season! 


  1. Well, I live with a person who does not wash their hands and I am paranoid all the time what is going to happen. My hubby is sick and he says it is from this person. I hate cold and flu season. My hands have issues already and then you add the constant washing and cleansing.. you got a mess!! Cover you mouth, blow your nose and wash your hands are the sentences I will say the most!! I think I break records with those words...

    1. Dear Anon,
      Might I suggest duct taping rubber gloves to the anti-hand washer? Perhaps make this person live in a bubble whilst in your home? For you and your hubby, up the vitamins for sure. I love cocoa butter lotion... it really helps with the dry hands.
      You're in my thoughts, sister! Stay strong!


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