Has anyone come down with that all-too-nasty flu yet? The other day, I wanted an excuse to stay in bed for a couple days and wished I, too, could come down with it. But it apparently lasts for three weeks or more, and I don’t want to feel like hell that long. There are, however, some etiquette-ish concerns when it comes to the flu and other illnesses that are easily passed from one person to another. And here they are:
Don’t feel guilty for hand sanitizing. I work with kids all day long. I like to call them plague rats. Four-foot-tall germ factories plus enclosed spaces plus the amount of times I touch my face in the day equals one sick me. So every time I walk by a bottle of hand sanitizer, I quickly pump some into my hands and rub dry while I walk and talk. By the end of the day, I smell like a five year old who got into her mother’s perfume, but I have killed anything that might be living on me. And who cares if the kids, school, or other teachers believe I think they’re gross. If they’re not sanitizing, they are gross. The end.
Don’t shake hands. Just don’t do it. I guarantee you, the other person has sneezed or coughed into that hand or absentmindedly wiped their nose on it. Afraid the other person will think you’re rude for not shaking hands? Just practice the following phrase: “I apologize for not shaking your hand. I might be coming down with something and don’t want to pass it on.” Then you take full responsibility for any possible illness and you don’t have to touch anyone.
Cover your mouth. WITH YOUR ELBOW. Let’s all practice the vampire sneeze. Sneeze into your elbow so that your mouth germs don’t get into the air or on your hands. I heard on the news that one sneeze can release 200 MILLION flu germs into the air. Hey Coughy McSneezerson, you are PATIENT ZERO. Cover it up!
Just stay home. I know. You have work to do. You’re busy. But you are going to bring your office to a standstill if everyone is out with the flu. Do your coworkers a favor and just stay home. Stay there until you have not run any sort of fever for at least 24 hours. Being a hero will not make you any friends. Stay in bed and read a book. The world thanks you.
This is, of course, all common sense. But aren’t all things polite nothing but common sense? (Of course!)