It’s Personal (Part One)
It’s hard to say no when a BFF wants you to try her eyeliner or wants to borrow your lip gloss or share your drink. We think we’ll look like freaks or germaphobes to our friends if we don’t borrow and share. The thing is, we can’t always tell just by looking at someone if they’re infected with…whatever. We don’t have to be oozing pus to be infected with something. It’s easy to think that if somebody looks healthy, they must be healthy.
How do personal items transmit germs?
If you want to avoid a cold or something much more serious, one good way is to keep personal items personal and stay away from other people’s germy hands, blood or body fluids (including saliva and so on).
Germs hitch rides on and in all sorts of substances on and in our bodies, from fingertips to spit to blood. Let’s say friend Suzie has a cold. Being polite, she covers her cough with her hand, then a few minutes later, uses a finger to scoop up some of your lip gloss. She just put her cold germs into your pot of lip gloss. Next time you use it, chances are you’ll be putting her cold germs on your mouth.
Now let’s say that Suzie has a serious germ in her blood. She uses your fingernail file and gets a teeny speck of blood on the file from a little cut around her nail. You use the file after her and scrape your skin a little too hard, allowing the germs in her speck of blood to make their way through your broken skin and into your bloodstream. You now have Suzie’s serious disease.
Toothbrushes, cups/drinks, straws, silverware, lipstick/balm/gloss
Lips, mouths and throats are home to all sorts of germs, some that are harmless, some just annoying and some very serious. Lips may seem safe, but they can have germy spit on them, and they can crack and bleed. In addition, oral herpes can be found around the lip area. Germs can get onto anything that goes into or on someone’s mouth and be transferred to your mouth.
Manicure tools and nail polish
The areas around the finger- and toenails are famous for having all sorts of little breaks in the skin, including ones so small you can’t even see them. Blood or other body fluids containing germs can get onto nail clippers, nail scissors, files and other manicure tools, and then be transmitted to you through little breaks in your skin.
Eye makeup can be the worst offender in this group. Eyes can have a variety of germs in and around them. People have become infected with diseases like pink eye from sharing makeup. Staphylococcus aureus, a germ that can cause nasty skin infections and much worse, has also been found in eye makeup. Protect yourself from yourself—wash your hands before applying makeup to stop the germs on your hands from getting into your makeup and on your eyes, in your mouth, or on your face. If you share mascara, eyeliner, etc, those germs can be transmitted from one person to another. Also, if you try on any kind of makeup that other people have stuck their fingers in, you can become infected with the germs that moved from their fingers to the makeup. Yikes!
Stay tuned for Part Two on Wednesday, when we talk about how to deal with borrowers.