January 9, 2008

Avoiding Mrs A

Sometimes it feels impossible to stay healthy in London. There are so many people in so many small, enclosed spaces like the tube, train stations, stores and offices, that germs gleefully jump from folk to folk partying on our weakened immune systems.

At work some of my associates have been out for six weeks with one flu, cold or virus after another. I don't think they're faking it either. These people are really sick. The latest news is that a new super bug called MRSA (Mrs A?) is making a mess of the city. Let's just say it strikes hard and impacts you at both ends - if you catch my drift...

I'm so afraid of getting this horrible bug or another cold that I've gone into anti-social stealth mode. On the tube I button up my jacket so that only my eyes show and I breath into a scarf hoping that it will filter out all those mucky germs. Every time someone coughs, sneezes or sniffles I give them the evil eye, "you polluter - you should be at home with the cat." I will even move out of my hard-won seat just to get away from the germ source.

Of course I wear gloves and touch nothing. As soon as I arrive at work I disinfect with antibacterial hand wipe gel. In fact, I use this every hour at work just in case one of my co-workers has brought something in from the outside world. Last night at our board meeting I provided pre-wrapped snacks to ensure that no contaminated fingers touch shared food.

Am I over-reacting? I think not. The goal is to avoid going to the doctor or ending up in the hospital here in the UK as things only get worse for you there. Some may say that I'm just being American. I can live with that.