Monday, July 26, 2010

Germaphobes...it's time to just chill out.


This has been on my mind a lot. The other day, after a random post I made on Facebook about my kids going to the play room at the gym, a commenter replied saying: "I'd be too freaked out about germs."

My sincerest apologies to the Germaphobes..and I feel I can call them this because most I know will openly tell you they are a germaphobe, but seriously? I think it's time to take a step back and just relax a bit.

I'm sure most Germaphobes think I am insane for taking my kids into public restrooms and also use them myself. Or for taking my kids to the play room at the gym, or indoor play facilities like Chuck E. Cheese and what not. Or children's museums or the zoo or the aquarium, amusement parks, arcades, etc where people put their grimy hands on things all day long. And oh the horror...we take our kids on an airplane!!!

But seriously....look at all we'd be missing out on if I let paranoia take over.

And I don't look at every human being as a cesspool of germs.

Yeah, everyone got real freaked out by swine flue and the other flus out there and all the other germs. (and I wholeheartedly believe the media is to blame for that) But I'm not gonna live my life in a bubble. I do my best to keep my kid's hands clean and we use hand sanitizer when we're out at places where a sink and soap and water are not easily accessible. Yeah, the kids still gets colds and viruses from time to time...that's all a part of life.

I know I read once that using too much antibacterial cleansers in your house will eventually make the germs immune to it. And actually houses that are a little bit dirty have healthier kids. The kids in immaculate homes never build the antibodies to fight off the common cold and other little viruses.

Some articles I found very interesting:

Life Style Lounge


The CDC

Care 2 Make a Difference (this one's the best!!)

I try my best to be aware of what's going on in the world...but sometimes we have to just turn a deaf ear and let our kids be kids and enjoy life.

13 comments:

  1. It is possible to keep children so isolated that their immune systems will basically crash once they do become exposed to germs. So what's the good in that? It's better for kids to be exposed in ideal conditions, while monitored. Kids should play and get messy. And if that means they happen to eat a little bit of dirt, so be it. You can't stop them from everything.

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  2. Exactly...that was my whole point to this post.

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  3. Unfortunately for me, my daughter has a compromised immune system and can't go to places with other kids and we have to use hand sanitzer when we go ANYWHERE. One grocery store trip last fall brought her pneumonia and a double ear infection.

    I try to let her have as much fun as possible at home and believe me she does get dirty, but I have to be ultra conservative when other people are around. Call me a germophobe, I don't care, but it's better than being at the hospital.

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  4. Sorry to hear Piedmont. I truly meant no disrespect.

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  5. My mother in law is a self proclaimed germaphobe.

    She won't even touch door handles in public places.

    Completely different story like with Piedmont's daughter. That is totally justified and necessary.

    My mother in law has no excuse like that, she's just freaked out by everything from door handles to frogs.

    I know I am one to an extent, mainly due my mild OCD. But I know when I'm being ridiculous and when it's justified. Like scrubbing my hands after handling raw meat, but I don't need to use wipes to open doors.

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  7. Bottom line for me is, if people are worried about germs... that's fine. But that's THEIR OCD issue. So they shouldn't give you a hard time about it.
    I was at a lake the other day and this mommy let her little toddler suck lake water from his shovel to his heart's content, and then she let him eat sand too. Would I do that with my kids? Heck no. But it was her kid, so... live and let live.

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  8. AMEN!

    Humans are NOT that fragile. There are 6 billion of us and counting, most living in Third World countries with no hygiene to speak of and they're still going.

    My aunt has a master's in nursing, taught at UMass Boston and worked in surgery in a major Boston hospital. At work, she used antibacterial soap for obvious reasons, but she bans it from her house.

    Your immune system has to be exposed to germs in order to build up its immunity to them. I never use antibacterial anything unless I have no choice and am anything but a germaphobe and I NEVER get sick.

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  9. Thanks for all the comments!!!! Glad I;m not alone in feeling this way!!

    Thanks for stopping by Renee! And for sharing your aunt''s professional opinion!

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  10. I want to agree with you, and I keep returning to that stance. Every time I do, I end up in hospital :(

    Pneumonia's not much fun by the way. Aside from the novelty of sounding like a collecting tin (the oddest noise), it messes up your lungs for years - particularly if you decide to adopt a 'stiff upper lip' stance and turn down the antibiotics. Yes. I'm THAT stupid.

    Kids need to be exposed to germs, viruses etc to build up a healthy immune system but the flip side of that is to keep an eye on what happens once they have. It's a gamble. My mother was exactly like you. I grew up in the countryside, with horses etc. If you weren't prepared to get dirty, you were not worthy. Did it help my immunity? No. In fact, my immune system got so fed up, it fell to bits. I've had numerous infections get into cuts and track down veins. They move very fast once they get a hold, and the hospitals look at you in disbelief that you could fail to acknowledge the horror of germs. I can only imagine how they look at the mothers of children who adopt the same attitude.

    My house is always tidy-ish, and I'm fastidious about being clean around food prep etc because a few bouts of salmonella wiped the smug 'a few germs won't hurt' grin off my agonised face. That said, I don't hover around with anti-bac wipes. Now, however, I cover all scrapes and cuts. It's so much better than dealing with snooty hospital staff.

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  11. Rebecca, I'm sorry that you have been ill so many times. Perhaps your body is a little more sensitive than most.

    And if it sounded in my post like I let my kids mush dirt into open wounds or fail to clean before and after food preparation, that is not the case AT ALL. I am careful..I do watch and I do clean and I do take precautions. My post was simply a vent against the people who imply that I am not taking care of my children properly by allowing them to go to public places and play like normal children.

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  12. Eek! You misread my tone. Not implying anything bad about you as a mother. I was just sharing my own experience, that sometimes 1+1=3. Thought it might make for a more rounded discussion, since you had the other angles covered. I also wanted to make the point about the medical sector being a bit inconsistent on this. On the one hand, they tell you to chill out about germs. On the other, if the consequence of that is an infection, they treat you like an idiot. I find that unhelpful when applied to an adult taking responsibility for their own life. I would find it even more unhelpful were it metered out to a mother in relation to her much loved children, for whom she is trying to do the best (as you are - and as my own mother did). It may be that this is just something that happens in England. I certainly didn't notice such a patronising attitude from doctors in America when I lived there. If this is the case, I apologise for any cultural cross-wires. Regardless, I am sincerely sorry if you were offended by experience, or by my relating that experience. It won't happen again.

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  13. Ahhhh..the misunderstanding of posts! I too apologize as my post back may not have come across the way I meant it!

    I was not offended in the least...I hope I did not offend you :)

    I put this post out there with the knowledge that I would probably get some opinions back that were different than mine and possible even some heated responses (not that yours was...I just knew I might get them...which luckily, I did not.) The great thing about blogging is that we can get out thoughts and views out there and find people to either commiserate with or open our eyes to different opinions. I always try to keep my posts respectful though...so I sincerely hope I did still achieve that with this one!

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