Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Is This How the Plague Spread?

Posted in Life, Pursuit of Happiness tagged , , , , , at 4:32 pm by Elaine Petrowski

Wondering if I’m the only one who is totally skeeved out by those credit card check- out swipe machine gizmos I’m starting to see all over?  You know the ones I mean … where you swipe your credit card and then use the attached stump of a plastic pen to sign, or rather, scratch, what’s supposed to be your signature, on the little screen?

I blame my newly acquired germ-phobia on a truly hideous upper respiratory “thing”  I’ve been best buddies with since mid-January. Other than a flight to and from Mexico, where I am POSITIVE all the flight attendants and all the other passengers were wishing I would succumb, right then and there,  just so I wouldn’t be coughing on them anymore, I’ve not ventured out much.

I’ve become somewhat of a recluse and avoided movies, social events, church services, board meetings and canceled dinner dates with friends because I  think of myself as a social pariah, mostly because my cough  sounds like a  seal with a pack- a- day Luckies habit. And the fact that it’s hard to stuff my latest must-have accessory –a full box of tissues –into even an oversized handbag.

Now, I know I can’t be sure how I picked up this bug. But today when I ventured out for –what else but more tissues and some vitamins?–  an  alarm sounded in my head when the clerk asked me to use the credit-card- swipe-thingy-with-convenient built- in-plastic-pen-stub. I froze mid- motion at the realization that everyone else who charged their purchases there today… even the ones who NEVER, EVER wash their hands… used that very same pen.

The easy solution would be to give up using my credit card and resort to cash, but that’s going to seriously undermine my “mileage slut” status. ( And future trips to Mexico.)

Tip: Fellow germ phobics (Have  I just created a few?) the exceedingly polite clerk told me that, next time, if I asked to avoid using the germ-matrix-credit-card- machine before he rang up the sale, that could be arranged. (So I can’t be the only one who’s asked, right?)

Now if I could just figure out how to avoid touching the door knob on my way out.

Be well.

And please do share your own germ phobias and/or your tips for staying healthy all winter!


  1. oh yeah… about the bulk buying… I stopped buying bulk (at least from the top layer) the winter I observed a man who was obviously very ill digging around in the naked green beans. YUCK.

    My sisters and I used to think my dad was NUTS when he washed all the produce (and the cans!) that came home from the grocery store. But now I do it too… with special produce soap no less.

  2. I like the frequent flyer’s advice – here’s another one:
    A chiropractor I visited told me years ago to break open a capsule of Vitamin E oil and use a Q-tip to swab the inside of your nose before you fly… something about keeping the cold cooties (love it, Elzy!) from invading that way.

    When I was flying fairly frequently for business I did try this and it seemed to work… I didn’t get a cold EVERY time I flew, just maybe every third time.

    And while I did not admit it in the post above, I too have handwipes in my car and my purse and am obsessive when it comes to handwashing — all for naught so far this winter.

  3. Elzy said,

    I’m determined not to have a repeat of last year, when I had the cold that went on forever. I carry wipes in my purse and use them on anything I’m going to have prolonged contact with (gym equipment, yoga mats, shopping cart handles), and was my hands as soon as I get home from touching doorknobs, etc.

    To avoid picking up cold cooties on a plane, I follow advice from a frequent-flying friend. He told me that as soon as he gets to his seat on a plane, he wipes the whole area — tray table, seat arms, seatbelt, etc. He repeats the process every time he uses the plane’s restroom. It works.

  4. Dee said,

    I guess only the germs know for sure………………………..

  5. Dee said,

    You are not alone. I do everything possible to avoid skin contact with those germ-probe things while shopping. I carry a container of hand wipes in my car and use one on my hands as soon as I get into my car and before I touch everything (steering wheel, radio control etc.). I also carry the little individual packets in my purse and use them while in the store on days I am feeling particularly germ-phobic or when some person who is hacking and coughing uses the the credit card/ATM machine. I don’t know for sure if this helps, perhaps I am deluding myself, but at least I tried!

  6. I must say that I agree… recently I was telling a friend that I don’t want to buy bulk products in the supermarket because of germs. Sigh.

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