Please excuse my cooties

April 15th, 2012 · 123 comments

Shar is a receptionist — and self-described germaphobe — working at a financial corporation in Toronto. The coworker who covers for her during lunch was sick this week, Shar says, and must have noticed that “when I return, I take it upon myself to Purell the crap out of my mouse, keyboard, desk surface and even pens. (I cannot afford to get sick.)”

Hey I know I have a cold and all but can you at least wait until I leave the room before you start sanitizing your whole desk. Its kinda mean. Hope you had a good lunch.

Adds Shar: “In my defense…I did think she was gone.”

related: My secretary, Sybil

FILED UNDER: illness · office · Oops?

123 responses so far ↓

  • #1   melissa


    Apr 15, 2012 at 9:46 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.1   suntherian

      It’s not like the coworker was spraying air freshener. It isn’t mean, it’s reasonable. Sicky should be more considerate and less butt-hurt.

      Apr 16, 2012 at 3:49 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.2   weaselby

      There are plenty of things to get legitimately offended about. This is not one of them. It strikes me as a massive waste of time to get all huffy. Sicky knew she was sick, so why’s she offended? It’s nothing personal about her.

      Apr 16, 2012 at 2:33 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.3   F Saunders

      Gotta say, the cold & flu bugs definitely stopped circulating among the admin staff in my office when they all agreed to Purell the reception phone and desk surfaces before/after covering each others’ lunch and coffee breaks. It seemed like they were passing around the same cold for months. Got to the point that all but one were away one day and the office nearly ground to a halt.

      No one was offended when the sani-wipes were pulled out upon arrival. They all knew it was for a good reason and not a comment about anyone’s germiness in particular.

      Apr 16, 2012 at 6:08 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.4   litchic

      Also Team Note Writer! When I was 25 I had bronchitis several times and was eventually diagnosed with asthma. Breathing was so hard and I had so little energy that I was out of work for a week. When I came back, a lady I shared my office with would spray *scented* Lysol all over every dang thing – often when I was in the room and she just heard me cough. One of the things that sets off an asthmatic attack for me? Those freaking scented sprays. My boss finally sat her down and said, “You can’t catch her ASTHMA. Give it a rest already.” It’s not like it offended me so much, it just made the situation she thought she was defending herself from much, much worse.

      Apr 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.5   Ashes

      Anything artificially scented can trigger an asthma attack for me. HATE IT!

      Apr 22, 2012 at 11:54 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.6   Noelegy

      I’ll never forget the day I was training a new employee, and she was working on my keyboard as I observed, and she WIPED HER NOSE with her hand and then put her hand directly on the mouse.

      Purell and tissues were both within reach. 8O

      May 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #2   Angela

    The sickie and her germs should of stayed home. Tough shitsky.

    Apr 15, 2012 at 9:48 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #2.1   Isabelle

      But the lower-status your job is, the less you’re allowed to stay home when you’re sick. Everyone is always “oh, should have stayed home!” but that’s precisely the kind of thing that receptionists and low-level secretaries get yelled at for. I know, because I used to be in precisely this position!

      If folks want the sick to stay home until they are better, we need not only realistic paid leave (ie, yes, you will be contagious for longer than two hours so you need to take a couple of days off”) and a workplace culture that doesn’t punish people for using it.

      Everyone I know works sick, because it comes up on our performance reviews if we miss time. Even as we speak, I am beginning to suspect that I got strep from a co-worker who just emailed today to say that she absolutely had to be out since she’d been formally diagnosed.

      There’s got to be an “I” in “team” somewhere, along with an s and a c and a k, because “team” seems to also spell “sick”.

      Apr 16, 2012 at 10:30 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #3   aquapt

    If I had a cold, and I had to work at somebody else’s desk for an hour and touch all their stuff, *I* would be the one sanitizing everything before I left. Simple consideration, problem solved.

    Apr 15, 2012 at 9:52 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.1   Amber

      Same here! On the few occasions I’ve gotten sick, I always bring in hand sanitizer and those disinfecting wipes. If I’m grossing myself out with my germs, I don’t want to subject anyone else to them!

      Apr 15, 2012 at 9:55 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.2   Kimberly

      I worked at a hotel front desk where we shared four phones and four keyboards, I would carry around Lysol when I was sick and hose everything I touched.

      Apr 20, 2012 at 10:39 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #4   Amber

    I don’t find it offensive. The other woman was sick, so why should Shar have to expose herself to germs just for the sake of someone who’s over-sensitive? If she was making sounds of disgust and saying rude things, that would be one story, but there’s no harm in sanitizing your things if you know someone has been ill. Do you know how much bacteria hangs out on phones? :P

    Apr 15, 2012 at 9:53 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.1   kermit

      I don’t find it offensive either, Amber. My dad does this at home all the time.

      He keeps a small spray bottle of rubbing alcohol on his desk and periodically sprays down his keyboard and pens because he really really oily build-up on stuff. And mind you, he’s the only one who uses his computer, aside from the cat who traipses around the keyboard when he’s not looking.

      Apr 16, 2012 at 1:41 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.2   Josephine

      I didn’t read that as “pens” kermit. ;)

      Apr 16, 2012 at 8:09 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #5   Dara

    If it was my desk, my co-worker would be lucky I didn’t lysol them down and stick clorox wipes up their nose before I let them sit down.

    Apr 15, 2012 at 9:57 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #5.1   Bookmark

      My mom used to spray lysol around my room and bed when I was sick, if she thought I was sleeping. It’s a wonder she didn’t think the lemon stink or the noise of the spraying would wake me up.

      Apr 23, 2012 at 2:39 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #6   JK

    Did nobody explain to Shar that all she’s gotta do is “circle, circle, dot dot dot…”? Do they not have cootie shots in Canada? Surely it would be covered by their health care system.

    PS. She can’t afford to get sick? I assume she means with something like the common cold where you can really only temper the symptoms. Otherwise, that stuff has to be covered.

    Apr 15, 2012 at 9:58 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.1   Jennifer

      Shar might be one of those kind, considerate coworkers who stay at home when they are contagious. If she gets sick and needs to stay home, perhaps she won’t get paid? I don’t get sick pay at my job either. I have health insurance that would cover a doctor’s visit, should that be necessary. But if I stay at home, I don’t get paid.

      Apr 15, 2012 at 10:08 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.2   JK

      Who can stay home for a week with the sniffles? The coworker isn’t vomiting. It’s not pink eye. There are levels of “contagious,” and it’s her job’s fault for encouraging people to come to work by not paying leave. They’d save money by letting people take time off, but they’re the ones choosing not to do it. It’s a financial corporation, not a small business. I say go for it unless it involves transmitting it to the public e.g. a service industry position. Wash your hands, etc. and try to avoid things like handshakes and standing in close proximity to others. Otherwise, go to work. I don’t think germophobes are germophobes because they’re concerned about getting other people sick anyway. Shar’s concerned about Shar.

      Apr 15, 2012 at 10:27 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.3   Jami

      Some people are allergic to those shots.

      Apr 16, 2012 at 7:14 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.4   Kelly

      A flu vaccination (I think this is what you mean by cooties shot) does not keep away the common cold. I’m not sure where people get this idea from. Influenza is a completely different animal. Also, sanitizing your workspace when someone working there is sick is just common sense. I’m a pharmacist, and when we have a coworker that is sick, it is common practice to purell the hell out of whatever equipment they have touched.

      Apr 16, 2012 at 7:31 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.5   JK

      Oh Kelly, everyone knows you can’t use cootie shots on the common cold. It only works on cooties. This is basic middle school medicine we’re talking about here. ;)

      Apr 16, 2012 at 8:34 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.6   AuntyBron

      They’re giving Medical licenses to Middle-schoolers now? Who’da thunk it?

      Apr 16, 2012 at 11:56 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.7   JK

      Actually, I was diagnosing cooties in elementary school, but that was without a license. I’m sure it’s past the statute of limitations now.

      Apr 18, 2012 at 12:04 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.8   Clumber

      #6.3 Jami : I am allergic to eggs (new allergy started being noticeable around age 35) and therefore to most vaccinations. So there;s a someone if anyone is keeping score.

      Our DoucheWhistle of a boss always claims “I just have allergies” and in the 6 years I have been there he has taken sick leave only once. However, the rest of us invariably get sick about 7-10 days after he has one of his “allergies”. One of these days I am going to shove the pen he continually taps between his ribs and see if that is an allergy too.

      Apr 18, 2012 at 12:36 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #7   Hannah

    People get colds. Hiding from dirt and germs is more likely to hurt your immune system than stop a cold.

    Apr 15, 2012 at 10:04 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.1   Jennifer

      Then why wash your hands at all? If catching the common cold is good for us, why don’t the doctors recommend that everyone be infected it with it from time to time? I agree that the immune system benefits from exposure to germs, but there is nothing wrong in doing what you can to protect yourself from getting sick.

      Apr 15, 2012 at 10:10 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.2   Hannah

      I’m not saying you should purposefully get a cold. My experience is people who do everything in their power to not get a cold are the first ones to become sick.

      Besides it is all well and good cleaning the keyboard but she probably touched worse things when she went grocery shopping and grabbed a shopping cart/basket or opened any door in a public enviroment.

      Apr 15, 2012 at 10:55 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.3   Jennifer

      Good point about shopping carts. Gross! And the utensils at the salad bars– also very gross.

      I am going to wash my hands now.

      Apr 15, 2012 at 11:07 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.4   Lauri

      Thankfully, my grocery store has sanitizing wipes right by the carts and I use them!

      I also haven’t used a salad bar since I saw a homeless guy jam his entire hand into the bowl of ham cubes and eat them standing there :(

      Apr 15, 2012 at 11:23 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.5   Adriana

      I’m not going to stop using hand sanitizer so that I’ll get more colds so that I’ll have a healthier immune system so that I won’t have as many colds.

      I also don’t get why the note writer was upset. What’s offensive about this? It’s not a personal criticism; it’s the reality that people don’t want to get sick.

      Apr 16, 2012 at 1:07 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.6   Jami

      They now give out wipes for shopping carts.

      I wouldn’t say I’m a “germaphobe” but people get on me all the time about my using hand sanitizer. I got into the habit because my best friend had Cystic Fibrosis (she passed away in 2005) and getting sick was NOT an option. So people should just mind their own business and let people disinfect if they want to. You never know when it’s going to turn out that the person has a friend or family member with CF, has had a heart transplant, etc.

      Apr 16, 2012 at 7:18 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.7   A Human

      I don’t know, I’ve been getting the common cold for as long as I can remember. If I didn’t develop an immunity to it in 20 years, I don’t think I ever will. I’ve used hand sanitizer a lot more frequently the past few years and avoided using my hands to open doors, and I get sick a lot less often than I used to. Different things work for different people.

      Apr 18, 2012 at 3:30 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.8   The Elf

      I swim in sewage. It keeps my immune system perpetually on red alert.

      Apr 18, 2012 at 11:32 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.9   AlfaCowboy

      Dude. Totally Team The Elf (from a distance and upwind, of course).

      Apr 19, 2012 at 2:22 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.10   Rei

      Just a note to anyone who uses the sanitizing wipes they offer for cleaning off the handles of shopping carts and stuff…they don’t work unless you let the solution dry before you touch it. Wiping and then touching it while it’s wet means you are handling it before the germs are dead and you’ve just defeated the purpose of the exercise. The More You Know.

      Apr 22, 2012 at 10:44 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.11   Ashes

      HAM CUBES.

      Apr 23, 2012 at 12:01 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.12   Nora

      Yes. I wash my hands after using the bathroom and before eating, but I never use hand sanitizers. I haven’t had even a small cold in years. Those things are completely unnecessary, soap and water do the job just fine.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:34 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #8   SeeYouInTea

    I hate people coughing on things I have to touch as much as the next person, but people need to stop disinfecting the shit out of EVERYTHING. It is bad (from what I’ve been told) to always spray Lysol or whatever at the littlest cough. You’re creating superbugs that are becoming immune to disinfectants/antibiotics.

    Apr 15, 2012 at 10:14 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #8.1   kermit

      Sorry, SeeYouInTea, but I have a minor quibble with this.

      There’s a huge difference between disinfectants and dish soap that has antibiotics in it. Superbugs and reduced immunity to antibiotics arise from the fact that some manufacturers put antibiotics in stuff like dish soap/ hand sanitizers where it doesn’t belong. Deceptive and unclear labels add to this confusion. You really have to read the label carefully to make sure you’re not buying the one with the antibiotics in it.

      Using rubbing alcohol to disinfect stuff is not harmful. But if you have access to regular soap and water, that’s generally recommended instead of Purell-type products.

      Apr 16, 2012 at 1:48 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #8.2   mugabo

      Not to cauae concern, but a lot of virii are becoming resistant due to antibiotics in *all* of the meat you consume, and increasingly in your municipal drinking water, too.

      Apr 16, 2012 at 2:22 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #8.3   Dr.Chalkwitheringlicktacklefeff

      Since antibiotics don’t kill viruses anyway what you’ve said is definitely not true, Mugabo. Given that viruses already have a 100% resistence to all forms of antibiotics, and have done since before antibiotics existed.


      Apr 16, 2012 at 3:48 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #8.4   alibubali

      You’re not causing concern, but you are spreading misinformation. Viruses (and, no, using the plural form in Latin does not make you seem more authoritative on medical issues) do not respond to antibiotics. Antibiotics work on bacterial infections not viral infections.

      Apr 16, 2012 at 7:05 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #8.5   Judith

      (Not to mention that in Latin, the plural of “virus” would be “vira” because it’s neuter. It wouldn’t be “virii” unless the singular was “Virius,” which is a man’s name. Please, I beg you, do not use fake Latin! There is no need. “Virus” is now part of a living language and its plural is “viruses.” Officially.)

      Apr 16, 2012 at 3:36 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #8.6   DaveGI

      You’re absolutely right alibubali – though a bit snarky in your pluralization put-down. (But hey, that’s what PA is about, right!)

      However mugabo would have been right if he said bacteria instead of virii. We do have a serious problem with drug resistant bacterial strains (like strep, MRSA, TB, etc.) due to overuse of antibiotics.

      I agree that there is no problem with Shar sterilizing her area after the sick co-worker used her desk. I think the whole issue here was that Shar went into full haz-mat mode before the co-worker had left

      Apr 16, 2012 at 3:42 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #9   Leah

    I would have ended it with P.S. I licked the container that you just touched to get that sanitizer. :-P In all serious though, I would do the same thing. I work in a hospital and they request you sanitize before entering and leaving.

    Apr 15, 2012 at 10:20 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #10   mpfl

    Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are not that effective at killing viruses. Simply wiping it down with water would be better.

    Apr 15, 2012 at 10:20 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #10.1   dogmama

      Completely untrue. Where the hell did you go to school that you were taught that water has any germ killing properties?

      Apr 15, 2012 at 10:43 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #10.2   Amy

      Sorry, but mpfl is right. Hand sanitizers are the snake oil of our generation. Colds and the flu are caused by viruses, and sanitizers are anti-bacterial. Water may not kill viruses, but it can remove them from the surface, and therefore keep them from infecting you. Alcohol based sanitizers just dry out your skin, causing it to crack, and that leaves you in more danger of catching an infection. There’s more, but this is probably too long anyway.

      Apr 18, 2012 at 7:19 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #10.3   dogmama

      If that’s true, why are hospitals not just hosing down their ORs with water after surgery? You won’t find a single hospital that does that. On the other hand, you WILL see hand sanitizer dispensers all over hospitals, and it’s based on good evidence that it alcohol-based hand sanitizers are effective at reducing the spread of infection. It’s not snake oil – it’s fact. Hospitals have infection control officers who look into these kinds of things, and they wouldn’t waste the money on hand sanitizers if they didn’t actually work.

      Apr 18, 2012 at 10:44 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #10.4   Amanda6

      The hand sanitizer dispensers you see all over hospitals are mostly for the benefit of the visitors there who see a bunch of sick patients and want to sanitize themselves. Doctors and nurses use good old-fashioned soap and water to clean up before and after surgery.

      Alcohol, generally speaking, needs to be at least 70% concentrated in order to inactivate most bacteria, and upwards of 80% to even touch enveloped virions. Purell hand sanitizer, for instance, is only 66% ethanol.

      Apr 19, 2012 at 2:02 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #10.5   Kimberly

      The hand dispensers are for nurses and doctors as well. I’ve spent some time recently in hospitals and I’ve watched the nurses use them every time they left the room.

      Apr 20, 2012 at 11:12 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #10.6   litchic

      Hand santizers are used for a variety of reasons – one of which is to make people feel better when they see doctors and nurses using them. You know what the most beneficial part of washing your hands or using a rub in santizer is? The mechanics of rubbing your hands together — and yes, under running, warm water with soap is MUCH better than rubbing in Purell. But don’t take my word for it — take a course in Microbiology (there are a few offered for free on iTunes U, even). Most enlightening part of that class was our instructor telling us Purell was BS and to please use the Dial (liquid) soap and warm water before and after coming to lab.

      Apr 20, 2012 at 3:57 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #11   Omnivore

    A relative of mine tsks tsks at me for using antibacterial hand wipes before we eat at a restaurant, claiming I’m killing all the good bacteria on my hand. Whatever. I’m not entirely sure she even washes her hands after using the washroom!

    Apr 15, 2012 at 11:10 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #12   Des

    I have an immune-related disease (multiple sclerosis) and in defense of the “germaphobes”, any common cold that I get can make me very ill. My body will turn that common cold into something that requires sick leave. I don’t tell everyone at work about my MS, so to them I am probably the crazy lady with the sanitizer wipes who doesn’t wait for you to leave the room before she goes to town.

    Apr 15, 2012 at 11:33 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #12.1   April

      I’m in a similar boat. I have Lupus and every sniffle makes me give a coworker the evil eye. Unlike you, though, my coworkers DO know that I have an autoimmune disease because I have pointed it out why I really hate when they or customers come in sick… I’ll just tell you that even when you try to tell people you have an autoimmune disease in the hopes they are more careful around you, they still tend to act like inconsiderate jerks…

      And really, does it take someone having an autoimmune disease for you to be more considerate of your fellow man? Even if I were healthy, would I want to take your dirty, wadded up money from your hand seconds after I saw you use the same hand to wipe your nose??!! lol

      Apr 16, 2012 at 12:55 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #12.2   Dana

      Ugh. Same here. It’s bad enough having to deal with my own body making me sick all the time. I don’t need contributions from others, especially if I’m on prednisone for a flare up.

      Apr 16, 2012 at 9:14 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #12.3   Annie

      I have lupus too… and I empathize with everyone else in this condition because I avoid sick people every chance I get… but even so, I kind of have to agree with the note writer. It can be kind of offensive when someone feels the need to wipe everything down after you touch it right in front of you, and all the note writer asked was for her to wait until she wasn’t there. And the submitter described the note writer as someone who covers for her at lunch… shouldn’t that be kind of appreciated? Having lupus, I am pretty conscientious of when and where I can pick up germs, so germaphobes really get on my nerves. They freak out over things like this, but think nothing of where else they might pick up germs. I had a friend who was a self admitted germaphobe, and she did the whole “spray her stuff with lysol every time someone touches it” thing, and then we’d all go to lunch and she would think nothing of using the silverware that was probably barely washed by the person in the back spraying it down. If you’re really that concerned, wear a mask and gloves. If not, don’t be obnoxious about it.

      Apr 16, 2012 at 11:44 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #12.4   catethulhu

      April, I feel for you. A good friend of mine has the same problem. People will go over to her house with colds, knowing full well she has Lupus. For the record, I don’t go anywhere near her if I’m sick, or think I’m getting sick. I don’t even breathe on her. I like her around and I would feel awful if I was responsible for her being laid up in the hospital. People should be more considerate of each other.
      I wouldn’t be offended if I had a cold and someone wiped up after me. I might do so myself, actually. I know it’s not ME they think is gross, but my cold germs.

      Apr 16, 2012 at 12:48 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #13   Jasmine

    I disinfect the shit out of everything on the desk when I start using a computer a sick person was using, too. Who gets offended by this?

    Apr 15, 2012 at 11:48 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.1   Dr.Chalkwitheringlicktacklefeff

      Microbiologists and laypeople who understand a little about microbiology and so know that what you’re doing is nothing more than a pointless ritual.

      Apr 16, 2012 at 3:51 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.2   AlfaCowboy

      Microbiologists are offended by it? Really? Are their feelings hurt? It may be pointless, but why take offense? I understand what you’re saying, Jasmine, and I agree. Regardless of the effectiveness of it, only a drama queen gets offended by someone “sanitizing” their own desk. Maybe if the desk owner was trying to actually sanitize the note writer…..

      Apr 16, 2012 at 9:43 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.3   kermit

      Dr. Chalk –

      If a clean work surface area is pointless, and it doesn’t matter, would you lick your co-worker’s phone or keyboard? If not, how come? I mean if it’s all harmless, what’s the big deal?

      Apr 16, 2012 at 6:30 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.4   Amanda6

      kermit, of course I wouldn’t lick my co-worker’s phone. The point is that I also wouldn’t lick my co-worker’s phone after using consumer-grade disinfectant to do it, because that shit isn’t as effective as everyone thinks it is.

      Apr 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.5   AlfaCowboy

      In all honesty, it would depend on which coworker. If it was the smokin’ MILF down the aisle, her phone would be fair game.

      Apr 19, 2012 at 2:25 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #14   angry bird

    Next time stay at home a*hole!

    Apr 16, 2012 at 12:53 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #15   Dr.Chalkwitheringlicktacklefeff

    The funny part being that a cold is caused by rhinovirus; there is literally nothing that can kill it. Not lysol. Not bleach. Not alcohol-based disinfectants. Nothing. It’s a massive waste of time to even try sanitising your desk. But still, feel free to try if it makes you feel better.

    Apr 16, 2012 at 3:38 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #15.1   kermit

      By that reasoning, Dr. Chalk it’s also pointless for people to wash their hands. Yet mysteriously, during cold and flu season, doctors still recommend that hand washing is the best way to stop the spread of disease. Hmm…do they all have stock in Johnson & Johnson?

      Apr 16, 2012 at 6:32 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #15.2   Amanda6

      No, kermit, it’s not pointless to wash your hands, because you can still wash the virus away, even if you don’t kill it. The alcohol-based disinfectants don’t kill rhinovirus OR wash it away.

      Apr 19, 2012 at 2:11 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #16   Dramamine

    Am I the only person who lives and works in a country where it’s often viewed as “skiving” if someone stays off work from an office job with something as measly as a cold? I’d love to be able to do that but when someone comes into work with a cold, you makes jokes to them about how they should stay away from you and accept that you’re probably gonna have a cold soon too. I always found it weird how, in movies when someone gets a cold they commit to bed for days. I wanna move somewhere where it’s socially normal to do that.

    Apr 16, 2012 at 5:10 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #16.1   kate

      Me too. I would always go to work if I had a cold. Getting someone to replace me would be a massive pain.
      Here in the UK at least, we have a to be near death before calling in sick. A cold just won’t cut any ice.

      Apr 16, 2012 at 12:18 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #16.2   April

      Well, depending on where you work… and depending on what you have… they wouldn’t want you getting the customers sick. Also, if your job requires for you to be at your tip top condition or people’s lives are at risk….. Yes, #16 did say “office job” so not necessarily the same thing… but felt I should point it out in defense of all these people you are implying as just being lazy in other countries.

      Apr 18, 2012 at 1:31 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #16.3   Aradialady

      I work in Australia and tell staff not to come in if they’re sick with a cold or tummy bug as I don’t want it going around the rest of the staff. Yes, we know they will have been “germy” and contagious beforehand but at least we won’t have to deal with the sniffles and sneezing and other gross stuff which we know WILL make us sick.

      We work with the public too so THEY often spread their germs :-S We actively encourage the use of sanitising hand gels for the times we can’t get away between germy customers and tell staff if they feel they’re coming down with something to use the sanitizing wipes when relieving each other at work stations. Everyone knows about it so noone takes offense.

      We started being very vigilant about it a few years ago and our sick rate dropped dramatically, by more than 50%!!!!

      We also had staff rostered to wipe down the door handles on the loo, and lunch rooms, handbasin etc. A lot of work? not really, certainly not for a 50% cut in sick rate!

      Apr 18, 2012 at 9:55 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #17   havingfitz

    It’s very easy to tell someone to stay home when they’re sick. It’s not always as easy to do: where I work you can call off once in a 3-month period (Jan-Mar) for example. Call off twice during that time, you’ll at least be written up and very possibly terminated. So the result is that everyone is sick because no one who gets it first can afford to stay home. I don’t care if you sanitize everything I touch: doesn’t bother me a bit, but please don’t judge me for dragging my germy ass in. It’s not my idea of a great time either.

    Apr 16, 2012 at 8:27 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #18   Nathan

    If you don’t want people trying to avoid your germs in front of you, don’t come to work sick!

    Apr 16, 2012 at 8:30 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #18.1   havingfitz

      And in a lot of places like mine, risk getting fired for it? I’m sorry, but if I have to choose between losing my income or exposing you to my germs, you better stock up on the Dayquil.

      Apr 16, 2012 at 9:04 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #18.2   crystal

      Not everyone has the luxury of taking a week off every time they get the sniffles.

      Apr 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #19   AlfaCowboy

    What poor traumatized little child would be hurt by someone sanitizing his or her own desk? How is that “mean?” Does the note writer personally identify with her germs so closely that she considers a rejection of said germs a rejection of her? Good grief. She probably gets separation anxiety from flushing the toilet, too.

    Apr 16, 2012 at 8:57 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #20   Hermine

    wtf people??? She’s not vomitting her guts all over the desk… She’s got a cold! And as it was mentionned before, viruses (or virii, depending on your snobism level) are not affected by alcohol, antibiotics or anything like this they are not considered alive until they enter the body and don’t have a cell membrane to disintegrate (which is the main mode of action of antibiotics and alcohol. So it was totally pointless and rude from Shar to frantically “sterilize” her desk.

    Apr 16, 2012 at 9:07 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #21   Hapax Legomenon

    What I’ve learned from the comments:
    1. Neither I, nor anyone else, actually understand germs.
    2. There is no consensus on whether or not getting sick is good.
    3. If you say you have a cold, people will take you at your word, even though everything in the world starts out looking like a cold.

    Apr 16, 2012 at 9:08 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #21.1   Milan

      It’s actually not good to get sick, but it IS good to be exposed to germs. You can google the ‘Hygiene Hypothesis’ for some theories on the link between under-exposure to pathogens and allergies, asthma, etc. Actually getting sick indicates your adaptive immune system kick in, which is a good thing from the perspective of creating memory B cells. (They produce antibodies against pathogens, and will decrease the chance you will become sick upon subsequent exposure). That said, if the infection is controlled fast enough, your innate system (first responder) is responsible, and you wouldn’t have developed the same protective antibodies.

      The reason kids get sick so much more than adults is they haven’t been exposed to as many pathogens as adults, and therefore don’t have the same repertoire of memory B cells.

      Sorry, bit of immunology for ya!

      Apr 20, 2012 at 11:31 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #21.2   litchic

      Seriously, anyone speaking intelligently about immunology or microbiology in a forum such as this — it’s such a turn-on. LOL

      Nice job explaining it in an accessible way, too. :)

      Apr 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #21.3   Milan

      haha thanks for the kudos! I’m a Microbiology & Immunology major….so I figured if I can’t be somewhat knowledgeable on pretty basic topic (given that I’ve done 4 years of studying) then I’m in trouble!

      Apr 21, 2012 at 8:47 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #22   Courteny

    Funny enough, I do the same thing to the person who covers my desk at lunch. But it’s not the germs, it’s their lunch they leave on my mouse, keyboard and all over my desk. I certainly wait until they’re gone before I wipe down my desk.

    Apr 16, 2012 at 9:57 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #23   Dane Zeller

    There is evidence now that there are virtual viruses that affect humans who comment on blog posts. The only prevention is to use a wireless mouse.

    Apr 16, 2012 at 10:07 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #24   a-Arialist

    With the exception of people with weakened immune systems, who really do have to be careful, the rest of you are all completely crazy.

    All you need to do is wash your hands regularly and thoroughly. The rest of it is just ridiculous – wipes in restaurants before meals etc etc. I never use any of those things (but I do wash my hands often), and have only taken antibiotics (knowingly, anyway) twice in my 34 years. I am remarkably healthy – I haven’t had so much as a cold in about four years.

    Can all the frantic germaphobe wipers and sprayers say the same?

    Apr 16, 2012 at 10:19 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #25   JC

    I wouldn’t have my feelings hurt if I saw someone doing it…I try to steer clear of other people when they have a cold and sniffles too.
    I’m a bit of a germaphobe myself, so I understand.
    I get really skeeved out if someone is coughing or sneezing and constantly wiping their nose in public. If I’m walking behind that person and they sneeze or cough, I move, because I don’t want to walk into their sneeze path!

    Apr 16, 2012 at 10:45 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #26   TFA

    I was going to write “Team Notewriter” until I saw this comment. Very good point.

    Apr 16, 2012 at 11:14 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #27   Batman

    I think what’s most passive-aggressive about this note is that it’s written in a notebook that presumable belongs to Shar, meaning that Germ-y germified the notebook, as well. :D

    Apr 16, 2012 at 11:55 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #28   chrisinphx

    I do the same thing, in fact, I take a Lysol wipe with me to the copier/fax/printer or whatever and wipe the buttons before I touch it. There are too many people walking around sneezing and sniffeling, on top of the people who dont wash their hands after using the bathroom. You would think in a professional setting these things wouldnt be needed but there are nasty ass people at every level.

    Apr 16, 2012 at 11:57 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #28.1   Hermine

      I really, REALLY hope this was a joke. If not, you should see a psychiatrist. Seriously.

      Apr 17, 2012 at 8:56 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #28.2   a-Arialist

      Quite. Nucking futs.

      Apr 18, 2012 at 11:10 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #29   deprogrammed

    I agree with both of them. But the weird part about having a cold is you can unfortunately be contagious for a couple of days before you show any symptoms.

    Apr 16, 2012 at 12:53 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #30   Marge

    LOL, I worked with a germaphobe and he was fun to watch. First times someone sniffled he pulled his t-shirt over his nose for the rest of the day. We would clean and disinfect for him all the time, between the kidding. Germaphobe I think is an illness too. We worked in a dirty, filthy warehouse but made sure he had one germ free computer in our area.

    Apr 16, 2012 at 9:18 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #31   Diomira

    Guys, I think it just makes the note writer feel worse. She already feels bad being there and exposing folks. She knows she’s spreading her germs. Even if she wiped up her own germs, Shar here would wipe again. I can empathize and I don’t think it’s too much of social grace to ask someone to wait until their out of the room before you get your Hazmat suit on. Besides, she sat in your chair. I bet she coughed or sniffled and touched it. I have a job now that really encourages people to stay home sick instead of spread it around, so I’m blessed. But at my old job, there was very limited sick time available and you better save it for the day you really can’t come in. Most people worked the first few days of their cold/flu and came back before they were 100% because they couldn’t afford any more time off.

    Apr 16, 2012 at 11:55 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #32   Margo

    Is it just me, or is the REALLY passive-aggressive person here the one who sanitizes everything in front of her co-worker instead of directly addressing the situation?

    Apr 17, 2012 at 8:42 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #32.1   Captain Hampton

      …and then submits the coworker’s note to this site with the comment “I cannot afford to get sick”?

      Yeah, you’re not the only one.

      Apr 17, 2012 at 9:57 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #32.2   Steve

      These people are always the ones who get everyone else sick. They can’t afford to get sick…BUT YOU CAN! They may be able to get over a cold in a few days while at work but Mary in accounting? With COPD? When she gets a cold she ends up in the emergency room with pneumonia. $12,521 later and having burned through her only vacation to cover the 3 weeks she has to take off to fight for her life…she can confidently come back to work knowing its still a death trap in which she assumes all the risk and her coworks still don’t care about anyone but themselves. Sorry you couldn’t ‘afford’ to take three days off. I’m sure the boss is happy covering your $10 an hour job while the overall productivity goes into the garbage at a cost of thousands of dollars per day because of all the others you made sick as well. Thanks!

      Apr 17, 2012 at 7:19 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #32.3   Kaz

      Adds Shar: “In my defense…I did think she was gone.”

      So what makes you think she was being passive-aggressive by cleansing the desk?

      Apr 18, 2012 at 6:15 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #32.4   Lil'

      Steve, if she “can’t afford to get sick”, it’s more likely she stays home when she’s sick than comes to work. Secondly, sanitizer is available to Mary with COPD just as readily as it is to the notewriter. Sounds like Mary should take a lesson from the notewriter – especially with her health concerns. Excuse me now while I sanitize my phone. A vendor just used it before he mentioned his chest cold – and I don’t want his chest cold. I was very ill with pneumonia about a year and a half ago. I had never before been so sick in my life. I’ll take my precautions, and my coworkers can take theirs.

      Apr 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #33   Jolly

    I cover for the receptionist at my work, too, and when she gets sick, she disinfects her area before I use it. I haven’t gotten sick yet, but if I did, I would do the same for her when I am handing it back to her. Maybe instead of wasting your time writing a snotty note, you could use a little common courtesy to try and minimize the contamination YOU brought to HER workspace, so she doesn’t have to. As long as you don’t take care of it yourself, you have 0 right to be offended that she does.

    Apr 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #34   Amanda Blog & Kiss

    The chemicals in Lysol scare me way more than germs that we all naturally carry.

    Apr 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #34.1   schmoopy

      Um, we don’t ALL carry the same exact ones.

      Apr 22, 2012 at 10:50 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #35   MDT

    Team germophobe. I was a receptionist once and the person who would cover my lunch breaks was disgusting. She would leave her whole face of makeup and lip gloss caked on the phone each and every day. I wasn’t passive aggressive about it though, I was direct. I asked her to clean her mess before walking away from the desk.

    Apr 17, 2012 at 6:38 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #36   OHSue

    Boy does my boss get pissed if you call off. Said if you have stomach bug you can come in because we have a bathroom. Funniest part is I work in a doctors office!
    And our receptionist uses handwash all the time. Yet she licks her finger when turning pages and puts pens in her mouth so we have all been innoculated with her cooties!
    And if a receptionist has a problem with germs she needs to get a job the back. You spend all day being approached by strangers who could be picking their nose just before they touch your desk, pen, etc.

    Apr 17, 2012 at 10:28 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #37   April

    Pointed out that I have Lupus in another comment. Hopefully, I’m not the only one that hates when people then tell me “Then you shouldn’t work with the public!” That is just rude – telling me I can’t have my job. Right now, this is the only job I could get and you have the nerve to tell me not to take it? AND that it’s my fault for being offended that people come into the store with all manner of sicknesses that they want to pass off to other people without any shame??

    Doubly funny, because I have been told that I could go on disability between my mental health problems and my other physical problems… but I choose to earn an honest wage. I don’t want to just leech off the other taxpayers. I will work as hard as I am able to… even though, there are obviously others who think a little depression gives them the right to lay around and receive checks from the government. Sorry, off the soap box. It’s just I saw at least one person mention this in comments somewhere and have had people say this to me in person… just annoying as hell to be given flack for wanting to work…

    Apr 18, 2012 at 1:39 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #38   Beatus Mongous

    The most important question is: What did she eat for lunch?

    Apr 18, 2012 at 3:08 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #39   Poltergeist

    Put on your big girl panties notewriter. When you vomited as a child, did your mother have to wait until you left the room to clean it up lest she hurt your feelings?

    Apr 19, 2012 at 1:43 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #40   Amanda6

    Are germs the new tipping?

    Apr 19, 2012 at 2:13 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #41   Deris

    Fun note for above, Medical personal do use water after surgeries. We even have a tool that flushes water over staples/stitches to clean it up after the patchwork. Open wounds are always -ALWAYS- cleaned with water.

    Apr 19, 2012 at 4:10 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #41.1   Captain Hampton

      That wasn’t very fun at all.

      Apr 19, 2012 at 5:03 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #41.2   litchic

      I thought it was fun! But I’m in Nursing school now and the things I find “fun” or “interesting” are, I admit, very odd.

      Apr 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #42   Madwoman Without a Box

    I was always under the impression that being a Germaphobe was somewhat like having OCD, or somesuch. So, it’s a phobia/compulsion the bearer can do nothing about, right? If that’s the case, why are so many people vilifying Shar, who has admitted she is a Germaphobe, and has also said that she had thought coworker had left before she hosed down the desk? Genuine lack of understanding on my part, here!

    Apr 21, 2012 at 3:45 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #42.1   The Elf

      Well, the word “germaphobe” isn’t a real psychological term. The technical term for the phobia is mysophobia.

      Germaphobe is a layman’s term used to describe someone who is overly hygenic and/or afraid of germs. When it’s to the extreme of being similar (or part of) OCD or another anxiety disorder, then it’s sad. Possibly treatable, but still something they can’t help. It can be a big impact on their life – washing their hands to the point of chapping the skin, refusing to shake hands, even refusing to leave the house. So, yeah, it would be mean to berate someone who suffers from this.

      However, most “germaphobes” aren’t actually OCD or even have mysophobia. They just tend to see dirt where others don’t, or hold to erroneous information about health, or even just get grossed out easily. For instance, female “hoverers” are usually germaphobes and the reason they don’t put their bare asses down on the toilet seat like the rest of us is because they think there are germs there and that’s gross. This, despite repeated study showing that there are fewer germs on the toilet seat than there are at the average person’s desk. So instead they piss all over the seat and make life hell for those women that have the misfortune of going next. And they deserve our harsh words and need to get the fuck over it.

      Apr 21, 2012 at 6:58 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #42.2   Milan

      I dunno…I think my response to both you and the note-writer was YOU are the ones that need to get the fuck over it. If you aren’t bothered by germs, just wipe the seat (half the time the left over water is spray from the toilet that shows up whether or not someone hovers). And seriously, if you have a cold, just accept that other people are going to try and avoid getting sick. Assuming OP wasn’t huffing and muttering about it…..seems like a fair response. OP was concerned about germs, notewriter wasn’t; therefore, OP cleans germs. At least OP wasn’t leaving notes asking the notewriter to clean-up after herself.

      Apr 21, 2012 at 8:51 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #42.3   Jessi

      @Milan. What toilets are you using that spray water everywhere?

      Apr 22, 2012 at 1:55 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #42.4   Milan

      all toilets without a lid create spray. The high-powered public toilets (which would be the ones the ‘squatters’ are using) generally have increased (visible) spray. I’ve seen some bad ones at my university campus. Both new and old. Almost made we want to wipe the seat AGAIN so people didn’t think it was me leaving the spray.

      Apr 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #42.5   The Elf

      Yeah, when it’s yellow, it’s not spray.

      Apr 23, 2012 at 3:06 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #43   B

    I have a roommate like that. She will avoid the house at ALL COSTS when anyone is sick. When she does come home, she lysols EVERYTHING. The smell of the lysol alone makes me want to throw up. It’s rude.

    Apr 22, 2012 at 4:20 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #44   Army of Words

    With all the Purell she’s using, I’m gonna make a guess and say that Shar gets sick more often than the note-writer. Unless she has a disease that affects her immune system, she needs to get her priorities straight.

    Apr 24, 2012 at 6:32 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #45   Snowy

    Jeez. If I was the sick one, I’d not only not be offended, I would’ve brought a package of Lysol wipes and started for her.

    Apr 27, 2012 at 5:16 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #46   Rumtopf

    I had to stay home from my boyfriend’s bro’s birthday dinner today because I’m sniffling and a bit feverish(probably because I was on a packed out train to and from London a week ago, damn you, public, and damn you, crappy immune system!). I don’t want to get everyone sick along with me but I’m missing out on roast dinner.

    Something I need to do, and suggest everyone else should check, is vaccination booster shots. Pertussis is the main one, no way do I want to catch that and accidentally infect an infant too young for their shots. Pertussis is not only awful for kids who survive it, it can kill D:

    Sep 7, 2012 at 2:10 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up