Recently I’ve seen articles popping up all over social media about the horror that is the Public Pool. I’m not exactly sure what these articles say since I haven’t clicked over to any of them, but I imagine the word FECAL appears a lot.
It’s become pretty standard these days to see studies that tell us about the dirtiest areas in the places we frequent. For a while, I couldn’t help myself, and every time I’d see one, I’d have to read it. Maybe if I was armed with knowledge I could eliminate all the nastiness around me to keep my family safe and healthy.
Then, just the other night, as I lay in a hotel bed desperately trying to keep the blanket from touching my face, it occurred to me: My family is safe and healthy. Do we get the occasional cold or stomach bug? Of course. So does everyone else, including the freakishly clean people.
The only thing that reading these studies does is increase my paranoia, which does an okay job all on its own, truth be told. So I’ve made an important decision:
I’m done with these studies. I’m done arming myself with knowledge that is only marginally helpful. I’m done freaking myself out for no good reason. Done.
If you see a study about any of the following six things and just have to read it, do me a favor, okay? Go ahead and read it. Fuel the fire of your disgust. But keep it to yourself! Don’t hit the share button. Don’t tell me why I should never go out in public ever again. Just don’t. I don’t want to know.
6 Disgusting Things I Refuse to Think About
1. Hotel Rooms
When I was a kid, staying in a hotel was a big thrill. My kids feel the same way. As soon as we enter that perfectly prepared room, they’re crawling on the floor and rubbing their faces on the blankets, and all I can think is, “STOP! DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING!”
But you know what? I’ve stayed in dozens of hotels and I’ve lived to tell the tale. We’re home from our most recent vacation and everyone is still healthy. So please don’t tell me about the top five spots that the housekeeping staff never remembers to clean. Don’t shine that black light to show where the bodily fluids are. I DON’T WANT TO KNOW. Sometimes ignorance truly is bliss.
If I knew about all the disgusting things that happen in restaurant kitchens, I would never eat out again. But I do eat out and I don’t get sick from it. In fact, the only time I’ve ever had food poisoning was when I ate something at a family dinner, not at a restaurant. So please keep that list of restaurants that didn’t pass inspection to yourself. If it was really bad, they would have been shut down. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.
3. Shopping Cart Handles
Of course I know these are dirty. Dozens of hands touch them every day. That’s why I spray my family down with hand sanitizer whenever we leave a store. I’ve got it covered, so please keep the statistics to yourself.
4. Public Restrooms
I could easily have nightmares about the horrors lurking in public restrooms. Up until recently, I would do everything in my power to avoid them at all costs. Unfortunately, now that I have a potty trained daughter, not only do I frequent them, but I also am trying to get over my fear of touching anything while in there. At this point in her life, hovering is just not an option, and as careful as I am to lay toilet paper on the seat first, it almost always shifts when I sit her down.
I really don’t need any extra germs to think about when I’m in there, so please don’t share that article about how many diseases hide inside the hand dryer.
5. Public Pools
I kinda covered this one in the intro, so I’ll be brief. Of course these places are germ-infested. People’s entire bodies are in the water. I’m going to blissfully imagine that the chlorine is strong enough to kill small animals and leave it at that.
6. Our Own Homes
Why yes, I am aware that my kitchen sink is dirtier than my toilet. That’s why I wash it out every. single. time. I do the dishes. I also am aware that that’s not even the dirtiest place in my house. I’m 99% sure I know what is, but I refuse to read the article that will confirm my fear because why would I want that weighing on my mind??
Look, the bottom line is this: Despite the fact (or maybe because of the fact!) that we stay in hotels, eat at restaurants, go grocery shopping, use public bathrooms, swim in public pools, and live in our home, my family is healthy and happy. I can spend hours reading studies and obsessing about the nastiness of everything around us or I can let us live our lives, relatively sure that those germs won’t lead to our demise.
You know what they say:
What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
So stop showing me the studies already!
Herchel S says
Except for the public pool thing, I stopped worrying about hotel rooms etc long ago. Freakishly clean people I know personally get sick way more often than I do! Life is too short to spend freaking out about that stuff.
I agree. We would never go out in public if we worried about all the dangers out there. Imagine if we added worrying about car accidents and all of those types of things to the list! I’d have to build an underground bunker to live in!
I am right there with you!! I refuse to read those articles because I will not be grossed out. I’m a big believer in some germs are a good thing. #progerms
Lisa @ This Pilgrim Life says
YES to all of this! Too much information is overwhelming and unnecessary, especially when an article presenting a different side is shared the next day. And please don’t tell me where the dirtiest spot in my house is. I.Just.Can’t.
I recently saw one (didn’t click through) where a scientist grew all the germs on her son’s hand after he’d been playing outside. In the little blurb under the title, it said that she was saying it was a good thing because it built up his immune system. Those are the studies I like to see!
Studied virology says
What doesn’t kill us can nearly do so. Ignorance is only bliss if you don’t contract disease. Hand sanitizers don’t kill the truly bad germs. Some viruses can remain essentially dormant until years after you’ve picked them up and you’re left to wonder how/when you picked it up. Lots of people are walking around with Hep-C without knowing it, for example. Not seeing an obvious link between an exposure and illness doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist.
I for one prefer to read the articles and judge. Personal choice,
I have no doubt that there are some nasty germs out there, but if I chose to live my life worrying that every time I went out in public I was exposing myself to possible sickness and death, I wouldn’t be living at all. I also would have a weaker immune system if I tried to live in a germ-free bubble.
If what you’re saying is true (and I don’t doubt that it is), it doesn’t sound like I could do much to prevent those illnesses anyway beyond hiding at home. Yes, I will listen to the news reports telling me to check out those tainted strawberries I may have bought and ingested, but I won’t waste my time on the study telling me that the hotel staff forgot to wash off the telephone handle.
Ok I read it and you’re right – ignorance IS bliss! Except for public bathrooms and pools, they totally gross me out. I can’t help it! And I do wipe down the hotel remote as soon as we arrive!