I have a discerning eye when it comes to people’s hygienic proclivities, and I must say, I’m thoroughly disgusted by their general disregard for cleanliness.
I notice the man on the Amsterdam tram unapologetically picking his nose and wiping his nasal mucus on the seat beside him. I spy the woman in the public washroom who’s slow to leave the stall but quick to saunter past the sink – water never touching her hands – opening the door as she leaves. And, I track the surly teen rummaging for change in the register then turning around to slice and butter a bagel during a routine morning coffee run.
Like I said, I pay attention, particularly when my health is concerned. Though I wouldn’t go so far as to label myself a germaphobe, my awareness of the unsanitary is hawk-like, but I can’t help it – some among us are just nasty!
Therefore, I protect myself as best I can: I avoid doorknobs, handrails, elevator buttons, and automatic door openers when possible, opting instead for paper towel, a shirt sleeve, an elbow, or a foot. I carry hand sanitizer for when my southernmost extremities won’t do, and there’s no option but to touch something: a handshake, Bixi handle bars when biking around Montreal, sipping Mojitos in Cuba, or when handling our ubiquitous loose change. And, I’m not afraid to admit that I’ll often hang back whenever a group of people inches towards a door – I’ll gladly enter last if it means having someone else hold it open, keeping me germ-free in the process.
Being mindful of the dirty doesn’t prevent me from living my life, however: I like to hang out, eat out, and travel. I just make sure to clock my waiter’s hand activities and those of the runny-nosed and inquisitive toddler on my flight to the Dominican Republic when I do.
Sadly, germ phobias and anxiety do hinder others from going about their daily lives and discovering the wonders of our world, a true travesty indeed. But, thankfully, Teresa Laynes, one of the good folk over at Sympatico.ca Travel, has put together a godsend of a list to address this very thing. The products reviewed in her article, The Traveling Germaphobe, make venturing out the front door a lot more sanitary for the “germ concerned.”
We want to hear from you: what products help to ease your anxieties about germs and bacteria? What are your fav techniques for avoiding the microbes that surround us? Go ahead an share in the “Comments” section below!