Now is the winter of our discontent
Made inglorious winter by these germs at work;
And all the viruses that lour’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the arctic buried.
Okay, the first line was directly from Shakespeare’s Richard III – the rest was my butchery of his poem! Sorry Bill… And it isn’t quite winter yet, but “fall of our discontent” just didn’t seem right.
I am fortunate that I am able to telework a few days a week; it is an excellent benefit of working for the federal government. However, this winter it has only served to make my days spent in the office a bit more painful because I am more aware of how exposed I am to some unfortunate hygiene issues!
I usually witness the following several times during a typical office day:
– Numerous people coughing or sneezing into their hands instead of a tissue or the crook of their elbow. I sure love having to use the same door knobs, fridge handles, elevator buttons, and drinking fountain handles with them.
– Numerous people walking directly out of the bathroom without washing their hands, after coming out of the stall or stepping away from the urinal. Again, I sure love having to use the same door knobs, fridge handles, elevator buttons, and drinking fountain handles with them.
– Numerous people working up a good sweat in the gym, going into the locker room, and then reappearing 5 minutes later without showering (I have no hair and it takes me at least 10 minutes!) I get it if you do a short workout and don’t really work up a sweat, but if your hair and clothes are soaked with sweat, I think a shower is a good option..
(Okay, the third point is more of an annoyance than a public health issue!)
I’m not trying to be the hygiene police, but as many of us struggle to keep ourselves and especially our kids healthy during the winter, these kinds of hygiene breaches are frustrating. By being considerate of others and taking basic, common sense measures to minimize the spreading of our germs, we can make these long winters a bit more tolerable!