When your 3-year-old asks for "antibacterial hand gel"

I never really pictured myself as a germaphobe, but lately I’m beginning to wonder if I’m morphing into one. With all the talk of H1N1, I find myself speculating more often than I’d like to about those little germ critters and where they might be lurking. You know you are becoming a little too obsessed when your 3-year-old asks for the “antibacterial hand gel” the second you get buckled up in the car after a trip to the grocery store. You know you’ve probably gone too far when that same three-year-old asks to go to the doctor to get his flu shot so that the “mean flu bug” doesn’t make him sick.

After a recent scare with a near diagnosis of H1N1 with my 6-month-old, I figure it is almost inevitable that my family will at some point come down with H1N1. All of his symptoms pointed to H1N1, but we lucked out… it was just another virus. Nonetheless, the scare just added more fuel to the fire. I am going to continue to fight getting H1N1 with all I have and hope for the best. I know, I know. You are probably sick of hearing about H1N1 and all of the advice that’s out there… wash your hands, cough into your sleeve, etc. But if there is even one person out there who can benefit from my observations, it’s all worth it. The following is a list of pointers perhaps you haven’t considered when trying to keep your family safe from the dreaded flu bug.

Drink from a straw at restaurants.

That waiter who is generously filling up your glass of iced tea may be giving you the flu bug as we speak. Have you ever noticed that waiters often rest their pitchers on the edge of your glass…and the glass of the person at the table beside you and the table beside them? Ewww! Insist that your waiter pour without touching your glass or drink from a straw.

Use your own pen.

Have you ever thought about how many people have handled the pens that store clerks, banks and restaurants loan you to sign your bill or fill out paperwork? It’s a breeding ground awaiting its next victim.

Take off your shoes.

I don’t even want to think about what is lurking on the bottom of my shoes after a trip to the grocery store. It’s got to be as worse as what our hands pick up on the carts. It’s probably a good idea to think about what we might be bringing into our homes after traipsing through a store or any other place where people walk or congregate.

Wash like a nurse.

Have you ever watched a nurse wash her hands? They are trained to wash their hands without ever touching a thing as they leave the bathroom. Here’s the technique: Push the paper towel button to release the towel. Turn on the water and wash with soap. Tear off the towel, dry hands and use the towel to cover the sink handle to turn off the water. Use the towel to open the door as you leave. It just takes a little retraining and voila, germ-free hands when you leave the bathroom.

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When your 3-year-old asks for "antibacterial hand gel"