COVID-19: A Germophobe During a Pandemic

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COVID-19 brought the world to its knees and changed our daily life in a matter of months. As I am writing this, the number of confirmed people infected in the United States with COVID-19 surpasses China where the disease originated. My daughter and I have been staying home since March 13, 2020. My husband is a healthcare professional whose work is considered essential thus, he is performing his duty everyday. We are at war with an invisible enemy and healthcare professionals are at the forefront of this battle. Right now, they are our soldiers in scrubs. To support them, the least we can do is practice strict social distancing, which means staying home and avoid all non-essential outings. Social distancing will determine our country’s fate therefore, it is up to each one of us to prevent further spread of SARS-CoV-2 (which is the name of the virus responsible for COVID-19).

A Germophobe’s Nightmare

I’ve always been a germophobe. I’ve been obsessed with cleanliness as far as I can remember however, after my daughter was born 5 years ago, I’ve become more zealous about cleaning and organizing.

I’ve been living like there was a pandemic even before COVID-19 happened. In fact my entire adult life has been filled with the smell of sanitizing wipes and cleaning rituals.

As soon as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a guideline regarding cleaning and sanitizing, I made sure to read it to ensure that I was doing everything possible to protect my family. If you haven’t done so already please visit CDC. My cleaning and sanitizing rituals give me a sense of comfort, safety and peace of mind however, I do know that even by taking all the precautions necessary, I am still not invincible. The enemy is invisible and with new data coming in everyday, we know that SARS-CoV-2 is very resistant and can live on various surfaces for an extended period of time. Now, if this isn’t a germophobe’s nightmare, I don’t know what is.

Health Care Professionals

As I mentioned before, my husband is currently working in a hospital and apart from him, my daughter and I haven’t been in contact with anybody else since March 13, 2020. We’ve been staying home to ensure that we stay healthy and keep SARS-CoV-2 from infecting my husband whose skills are needed more than ever now. His job carries the greatest risks of exposure thus, since the situation have escalated quickly in Coconino, I would like to share a few extra precautions we are taking.

  • My husband doesn’t come home as often. He stays in a house provided by the hospital and limits the number of days he comes home to decrease the chances of bringing germs and viruses.
  • When he does come home, he removes all his clothes right away and takes a shower.
  • All his clothes are then washed and sanitized at high temperature.
  • All his belongings, bag, car keys, wallet, phone. etc. are all sanitized thoroughly.
  • My daughter and I clean the house on a daily basis including tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, electronics, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc. When my husband comes home, I disinfect everything more often with household sanitizing products and the sanitizing steamer.
  • We only eat home-cooked meals.
  • I don’t go to the grocery store in person. I order everything online and the groceries are delivered to our front door. Once I bring them in the house, everything that can be washed is cleaned with hot water and soap especially produce. Items that come in small boxes (e.g. cereal, protein bars etc.) are taken out wiped with a sanitizer and stored in the pantry. I do all this while wearing gloves just in case something is contaminated.
  • My husband avoids physical contact with my daughter and I to ensure that we remain healthy.

Final Thoughts

My hope is that this post gives you an idea of what life is like for germophobes and those who live with healthcare professionals. Please do your part by limiting contact with people and objects. Staying home is the safest way to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19.  Health care professionals are sacrificing a lot right now. Like my husband, many are also deliberately “self-isolating” themselves to safeguard the health of their families.

We like to think that health care professionals are invincible, unfortunately that is not the case. COVID-19 is here to remind us of that.

If you know any health care workers, send them a quick text of support. Honor their sacrifices, bravery and selfless dedication by practicing strict social distancing and by staying home.

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Sylvia Bucina
Sylvia lives in Flagstaff, Arizona with her daughter (5 years old) and husband. She was born and raised in Mauritius Island which is a small tropical island located in the Indian Ocean. She is multilingual (French, Mauritian Creole and English). She lived in Ottawa, Canada before moving to Flagstaff, Arizona. She holds a Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management as well as a Master of Health Care Administration. Sylvia is an avid reader, tea drinker, traveler and cruise-goer. You can find her with a hot cup of tea concocting her family’s next destination.

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