germaphobe

I’ve been dying to take MacKenna up to school to see the staff + my kids since the day she was born.  I mean, why would they not want to see the cutest baby in the whole wide world?!  (Sorry Sarah + Catherine, but I guess I am just a teeny bit biased.)  However, our pediatrician warned me from day 1 (and yes, she was there to meet MacKenna in the hospital the day she was born) that a baby’s immune system is obviously not developed yet and that we needed to wait until she was 2 months old before we took her to very populated, enclosed places.  I think an elementary school with snotty nosed kids + apparently just as sick teachers (or so I was told at our Christmas party last night) fits that criteria.

I haven’t exactly heeded that advice a whole bunch since we’ve taken her to the grocery store, Target, and church, just to name a few of our adventures.  It’s not that I’m not worried about her getting sick – because, believe me, I am dreading the day she gets her first fever – but it’s hard to live your life without taking her with us wherever we go (and I think it’s pretty important for us to still go to church).

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Besides holing her up in the house 24 hours a day, I’m doing everything else I can to keep her germ free.  Especially since it is cold + flu season.  One of the things that I am really doing to keep MacKenna healthy is taking every precaution necessary to keep myself healthy.  I have suffered from chronic sinus infections in the past (and had surgery to help fix that) and December is always my time of year to get a really nasty one.  Although sinus infections are not contagious, one of the causes is a common cold – something I can prevent.

I could never figure out why I kept getting sinus infections in December.  I very rarely get them any other time of year (I was not sick a day during my pregnancy, thank goodness), so why December?  It wasn’t until last year that I figured it out:  the gym.  December is the time of year where it starts to get too cold + dark for me to run outside (yes, I am a huge wimp), so I spend a lot of my time on a treadmill at the gym.  I have to touch the buttons to set the treadmill, I hold on to the heart rate sensors to see if I’m in the right training zone, I grab the side rails when I’m walking for a cooldown.  There really isn’t much that I don’t touch in the gym:  weights, benches, and other equipment are all perfect places to harbor bacteria.

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So, what am I doing to be proactive about my health at the gym?

(1)  Wiping down the equipment

Absolutely every gym needs to have wipes or a spray bottle of anti-bacterial/bleach solution to wipe down the equipment.  Not just for the germs, but for the nasty dude sweat all over the weights and benches.  Blech.  So gross.  If your gym doesn’t have it, ask for it!  Most gyms do a pretty good job of keeping their equipment clean – I would know, I’ve worked at several – but the maybe once or twice a day they clean the equipment isn’t going to stop those germs from hanging around.  Cleaning it off after each use is definitely much better than once or twice a day, but not everyone is going to do it.  So, wipe it down BEFORE you get use the weights, bench, or treadmill.  That way you know it’s clean before you touch it!

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(2)  Hand washing

Duh.  That’s nothing you didn’t already know.  But, how often do you wash your hands after you come home from the gym?  I know I’m definitely guilty of not washing them.  And what’s the first thing most people do after a tough workout?  EAT.  Now, think of everything you touched at the gym.  Yeah, that all just went into your protein shake.  Nasty.  As soon as I walk in the door at home, I go straight to the kitchen sink to wash my hands before I do anything else.  I’ve never washed my hands so much in my life now that I have a baby, but she’s 7 weeks old and not sick yet.  *knock on wood*

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You can also apply these principles to the shopping cart at the store, which also is a great place for bacteria to hide.  I know the stores by us all provide wipes to wipe off the handle, although I am guilty of not using it each time, but I’m getting better.

I know the unfortunately all the precautions I am taking aren’t going to keep her with a clean bill of health forever, but at least I might be able to delay it a little bit longer so she’s bigger + stronger to fight off those germs.  And guess what, no sinus infection for me yet this season!  *knock on wood*

What are some ways you are proactive with keeping yourself healthy?

  • Our son in due in February, and even though I have never been a germaphobe I am sure I will become one! I was a February baby who ended up back in the hospital on a ventilator with RSV. Unfortunately my Mom is not the most careful about covering her mouth, washing hands, etc and I have 4 nieces/nephews, so our house rule is going to be wash your hands when you walk in the door and if your coughing/sniffling/etc your not allowed near him.

    • Kristen

      Great rule!

  • Every time I start using the gym on a consistent basis again I get sick. Interestingly enough, right after a workout your immune system plummets which makes it even easier to catch something at the gym. I always use anti-bacterial gel at my gym and then go home and wash my hands. However, I never wipe the machines before I use them, only after…not sure why I haven’t thought of this before.
    MacKenna is adorable as always!

    • Kristen

      Great point! I keep hand sanitizer in the diaper bag just in case!

  • Jen

    I am the biggest germaphobe! I used to work at the CDC in the department of diarrheal diseases, so that’s no surprise! In fact, when I was pregnant I tried to use hand sanitizer less frequently because I was scared the alcohol would make Wyatt drunk!

    I hope you stay healthy this December and we both have a loooooong time before our babies get sick!
    Jen recently posted..The birth of Wyatt: Part 3

    • Kristen

      Ha! I’d be a wreck if I worked at the CDC… too much knowledge of all the nasty diseases out there!

  • have you tried a neti pot? i had months of sinus infectiosn until it got so bad i went to the walk in at MGH before work one morning (when my antibiotic did not work). the nurse suggested a neti pot and i havent had a sinus infection since. actually when you’re doing it sometime colorful stuff will come out and I just know that it wouldve become an infection if it stayed inside. gl keeping the cutie germ free! I’m loving your updates 🙂

    • Kristen

      I use a “baby booger sucker” (technical term) with warm salt water occasionally – cheaper and does the same thing. I need to remember to do it more often.

  • I’m a teacher, too, and I’ve been thinking a lot about whether I’ll bring our little one into the building or not for a visit. All of my students keep asking about it, but I’m just like you – a little hesitant to bring her around a bunch of sickly high school kids! If I do, I guess I can only follow the same precautions you listed, and check with my pediatrician first!

    • Kristen

      Yeah, I’ll probably take her next week for a little while and just not let the kiddos come near her!

  • oh she is so cute!