By Hannah Lee Leidy
With papers piling up, endless tests and senior comps (I’m not a senior, but I shudder to imagine what you all go through), no one can afford getting sick at this time. Living in close quarters and using shared facilities creates an unfortunate breeding ground for illnesses to spread, especially when sick people don’t use proper etiquette.
People who disregard polite hygiene practices are appalling. Granted, it can be hard to think about others when you yourself are under the weather. I personally want nothing more than to get a hug from everyone when I’m feeling crummy.
However, I try my best to refrain from doing anything that could hurt someone else’s well-being. This is a common courtesy that everyone should respect and strive to maintain.
First things first, don’t sneeze or cough directly into the open air that everyone else inhales. I hesitate to offer anyone a “bless you” when their uncovered-sneeze particles permeate the air. It’s rather hard to muster the kindness to comfort someone when they’re putting your own health at risk.
In addition to covering your mouth to keep mouth-borne germs at bay, stop sharing drinks and food with others. It’s common sense that consuming food and drink with a sick person’s utensils causes you to ingest their germs.
Whether you’re at Peirce or a party, get your own cup, bottle, fork, spork or whatever you fancy and then use it. Keep others well; don’t share; it’s that simple.
Avoiding getting up close and personal with people is another simple way to keep from spreading your sickness. If someone with a cold brings their face too close to me, I automatically lean away. Sorry, but it’s not me; it’s you.
Contagious sickness is often spread through airborne travel. So whether you have the sniffles or are recovering from a bout of the Kenyon Krud, maximize the proximity between your face and someone else’s.
The most interesting and easiest way I have seen germs spread, however, occurred in Peirce’s servery. Try to imagine for a minute that you’re a germaphobe, like myself. While standing in line waiting for food, the person in front of you sneezes, licks their fingers and then reaches for the tongs all with the same hand.
Excuse me, but gross.
If you are sick, cover your sneeze. If you are sick, don’t lick your fingers before touching something that multiple people will touch. Even if you’re well, try to control the saliva you spread in dining places.
The next time you’re feeling a little green around the gills, be a humanitarian. Consider how you don’t want anyone else to feel like you’re feeling at the moment (unless you do, in which case, that’s unfortunate) and then responsibly keep your germs to yourself. Children learn these types of common courtesies in kindergarten, so it shouldn’t be too hard for us practice them as adults.
Hannah Lee Leidy ’18 is undeclared from Elizabeth City, N.C. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.