Wednesday, August 15, 2007

New theory

Today, in the ladies' room, I somehow managed to get liquid soap all over my silk blouse. I think I just pressed on the lever too hard, but I'm not entirely sure. All I really know is that, all of a sudden, I was covered in soap, and I wound up pretty much hand-washing my blouse while I was still wearing it.

Luckily, it was about 100 degrees outside, so it dried pretty quickly, and I only looked dumb for a few minutes.

Anyway, while I was washing my shirt, I caught one of the secretaries in my office exit the ladies' room without washing her hands. To me, this is exceptionally gross.

You see, I wash my hands a lot -- probably 10 times a day. I also use antibacterial hand sanitizers and hand lotion. It's one of my germaphobic quasi-OCD quirks.

But today I realized that, despite the obsessive cleanliness, I get sick more often than I would like -- more often than a lot of my coworkers.

So maybe my cleanliness prevents me from developing the appropriate resistance to germs. Kind of like the allergy theory -- kids that are not exposed to allergens are more likely to have allergies and asthma.

It's almost reverse logic.


Joe said...


You ride the Metro; that's plenty of germ exposure.

My advice:
* don't touch your hands to your eyes, nose and mouth
* do regular health stuff (hydrate, eat right, excercise, take vitamins)
* disinfect your keyboards and phones
* bitch-slap that coworker; it's bad enough when a guy skips the hand-washing

DSL said...

1. Be sure to get plenty of sleep so that you're not run down and more vulnerable.
2. Use soap and water as much as you like but avoid using antibacterial products (we don't need tougher, more resistant strains), and yes Dara, I think we probably should allow ourselves to be exposed to some bacteria.
3. I get Joe's drift when he says it's bad enough when a guy skips the hand-washing, but there are just as many unclean women as men.

Paige Jennifer said...

(giggling) So wait, do you have any skin left on your hands? Actually, what I really want to know is will this realization change your rinse-and-repeat efforts.... (giggling - it's a painful thought, right?)

dara said...

Joe: Metro is one of the reasons I wash my hands so much. And I'm not going to say anything to the coworker. First of all, she's a secretary, and she's unionized. Second of all, she's weird. I try to avoid her whenever possible.

DSL: Realistically, I know it's the sleep thing that kills me. (But I get plenty of sleep on weekends!) I think I'm going to cut down on the antibacterial hand sanitizer. I think it was important when I was visiting my grandfather in the hospital, but its probably less necessary in a government office.

PJ: My hands are fine -- a little dry, but that's what moisturizer is for. And I probably won't wash them any less.

CBK said...

Maybe you're a hypochondriac as well as OCD. ;-)

A unionized secretary? That's abuse of organized labor.

dara said...

CBK: I get colds -- with real physical symptoms like sneezing and coughing -- three or four times a year. (Usually when I'm tired and rundown, or when I've been traveling a lot, or during flu season when I haven't had a shot.) It's not like I sit in front of the computer all day reading WebMD and running to the doctor to check whether I have a brain tumor or other weird ailment.

And in DC, most gov't employees are unionized. Just not certain attorneys.