Shaking Hands With Strangers
Eating at a Buffet
Buffets were always so fun as a kid! There was seemingly endless food, and you could have all of the options you could ever think of. But that is just the thing: kids love buffets. And what do kids not have? Proper boundaries when it comes to bodily fluids.
Kids will wipe their noses with their hands then grab a piece of pizza off the buffet, then put it back and grab a different one. Outside of children, however, we have other people unintentionally breathing and touching on the food before we get to it, and that is just not hygienic. It shouldn’t happen during COVID, and it shouldn’t happen before or after either.
Blowing Out Birthday Candles
Not Wiping Down Shopping Carts
Most grocery stores have always carried disinfecting wipes next to the entrance of their stores, but who really ever used them before the pandemic? Honestly, we really should have used them every time we went to the store, but we didn’t.
Now that everyone is overly cautious of germs and there are limitations on the amount of disinfecting products we can purchase at one time, we have now seen the importance of these little freebies. Everyone that has gone through the store before you has touched these carts and has placed their purses, and who knows what else - in the same place where you put your food. So, it just makes sense that we should have been thinking about disinfecting them long before we were concerned about COVID.
Touching the Gas Pump with Bare Hands
We might not have thought about it before, but gas pumps are some of the germiest things we touch throughout the day, along with key pads and our cell phones. They are often a little greasy and can make you smell like gas if you aren’t careful.
We know that some people have carried disposable gloves in their car for this very reason, but no we don’t see them as quite as crazy anymore. More people are conscious about what they touch in public nowadays, so now it’s smart to wear a glove at gas pumps, and honestly, it was smart before too, we just weren’t aware of it!
Not Washing Our Hands Enough
When the pandemic first began, all we heard over and over was to wash our hands. Wash your hands before you eat, wash your hands when you get home, wash your hands before you have to go out, and the list goes on and on...
Unfortunately, these are things we should have been doing all along. It's disgusting to think of how many people don’t wash their hands enough throughout the day. Not only will washing your hands more prevent you from sharing your germs, but it will also protect you from germs you might have picked up unknowingly. Wash your hands, people.
This has always been nasty. Now, it’s mostly teenage girls that do this, and yes, it’s okay to share chapstick with your partner or your kids because you are in such close contact anyway that it doesn’t really matter, but if a friend asks if they can borrow your chapstick, just say no!
Mono is so popular among high school and college-age kids for this reason. Just don’t share your chapstick with the person you became bffs with five minutes ago. You don’t know where they’ve been. This is unthinkable during the pandemic, and it should not make a return after the pandemic either.
Touching Our Faces While in Public
Not Sanitizing After Handling Cash
So instead of being that person who cleans their money, just clean your hands after. If the money is really gross, you will be able to feel a residue on your hands after you handle it. Yuck! Put that hand sanitizer stash you built up during the spring of 2020 to work!
Drinking from a Public Water Fountain
Our mouths carry all sorts of germs in them. Of course there is the beneficial bacteria that is found all over our bodies, but there’s also some things that could be harmful that either haven’t made us sick yet or that our immune systems are taking care of.
Our bodies are excellent filters of these things, but you don’t want to burden it, so it's to avoid drinking from public water fountains because you don’t know whose germs have been there before you, no matter what pandemic we are in.
Using a Public Restroom
Going to a Public Pool
If you thought about what you were swimming in when you swam at a public pool, chances are you wouldn’t be spending all of that money on a pool pass. Sure there’s chlorine that kills the germs that might be in there, but it is still very disgusting.
Hair, bandaids, sunscreen, dead skin, urine...we can’t talk about it anymore, but public pools are actually disgusting. It wasn’t quite studied whether or not COVID spread through pools, but it’s generally not a good idea to go to the pool during a pandemic, and we do not want to return to them afterwards, that’s for sure.
Not Being Germ-Conscious on a Plane
Airplanes are rather disgusting places. You’re locked in a very enclosed environment in close proximity to dozens of strangers for oftentimes hours. Not to mention that one plane will taxi several different people in the exact seat you are sitting in throughout the day and flight attendants don’t always wipe down the seats and trays in between flights.
Needless to say, gunk and germs can build up, and the habit of wiping down your seat area on a plane before you sit down shouldn’t be reserved to only the time of COVID precautions. This should be a habit every time you get on a plane regardless of a pandemic or whether or not it’s flu season.
Attending a Crowded Concert
Speaking of dozens of people in confined spaces; what about concerts? Especially those concerts where there aren’t seats and people are packed as tightly as they can get to the stage. That can’t be hygienic.
Obviously with social distancing during the pandemic, thousands of concerts have been cancelled because of this closeness, but it was also a breeding ground for viruses and germs before the pandemic as well. Maybe your sore throat after that concert wasn’t from singing your heart out but from a cold the person next to you was just getting over. COVID will definitely make us think twice about these events.
Whether its passing a water bottle around the team during halftime, going for a night out with the girls, or trying your friend’s fun-flavored drink, sharing drinks was rather common before COVID, but since the pandemic has started, our instinct instead is to think twice before taking a sip.
Sharing drinks is a surefire way to come in contact with COVID if a person carrying the virus, either knowingly or unknowingly, has taken a sip before you. Since COVID passes through particles in spit, you risk exposure every time you are near another person’s saliva. It’s not only COVID that behaves this way, either, and sharing drinks is just not a good idea because even if the person feels okay, they might still be carrying a virus that can get you sick.
Not Cleaning Our Homes Enough
Taking Public Transportation
Nearly everyone has been on a crowded bus or subway car, surrounded by strangers who are standing way too close. During a pandemic, this scenario is a nightmare for spreading disease, especially if people aren’t wearing masks, because you are supposed to stay at least six feet away from other people.
Shall we say it again? This was gross before the pandemic too, and it will be gross afterwards as well. It is very unhygienic to be so close to that many strangers and touch the same handles as who knows whoever else. Public transportation is just not a hygienic place no matter what.
Not Wiping Down Gym Equipment
This is disgusting, and we know some of you are guilty of this. Gyms have wipe-down stations for a reason. No one wants to sit on the same seat or touch the same weights as you after you just poured sweat all over it and didn’t wipe it up. Nasty.
It’s not just common courtesy to wipe down gym equipment before and after you use it, but it is also the hygienic thing to do. During COVID, you are running the risk of exposure for yourself or others by not wiping equipment down before and after use, but that also goes for times outside of the pandemic as well. Fungus, bacteria, viruses: think of how many things you could be spreading by not taking the proper steps for hygiene.
Handing a Stranger Your Phone for a Picture
This is gross for both you and the stranger. Our phones are some of the dirtiest things we touch all day because we hardly ever think about cleaning them, but we set them down on the floor, the counter, the couch, and even hold them in our hands while going to the bathroom.
Cleaning our phones should be a habit, but when it’s not, they carry a ton of crap. Handing your dirty phone to a stranger is gross for them, but also, they could be carrying something on their hands and then transfer it to you when they hand you your phone back. And after they handle it, we bet you won’t even clean it off for a long while. We don't want to think about it, but this is a rather unhygienic habit.
Not Washing Produce
At the beginning of quarantine, basically everyone was wiping down and disinfecting all of their groceries, even the chip bags. For many, this might’ve even been the first time you washed your produce before eating or cooking it, which is a very nasty thing to not do and could make you sick if you don’t do it.
Not only could produce still have dirt on it from the farm, but they also have pesticides on them that could be cleaned off with a good soak in water and vinegar. But even worse, certain “stomach bugs” can pass from a person handling the produce, to the produce, to your mouth. This could be anyone in the process as well, from the farmer to the store clerk to the person who picked up and put back the produce last night. These viruses can live on produce too, not only on humans. Needless to say, wash your produce even if there isn’t a pandemic going on.