Manners Matter: Germaphobe

Dear Mary Pat,

My friend invited me and my child over for a playdate last weekend. When we got there, her son’s nose was running, and he was clearly sick. I was surprised that she hadn’t canceled. She was offended when I told her that I thought we should reschedule. I know you can’t keep your child insulated from germs, but I try really hard not to expose my son unnecessarily. Am I being overly protective, or was my friend being careless? My son has already been sick twice this year, and I am trying to prevent that from happening again.



Sister Bay, Wisconsin

Dear Germaphobe,

Your friend should have canceled and should not have been offended when you asked to reschedule. We are exposed to all kinds of sickness at this time of year, and it is definitely wise to try to exercise some common sense and caution. That goes for adults, too. You can’t entirely avoid being around sick people, but you can resist becoming sick by washing your hands frequently and making sure to strengthen your own immune system by taking vitamins, eating right and taking other precautionary measures.

Because this is the off-season, many of us take the opportunity to travel. Although it’s nice to get away for awhile, spending time on an airplane is one of the easiest ways to become exposed to germs. If you’re going to be on a plane, be sure to get plenty of rest beforehand, and make sure you’re well hydrated. Also, take along hand sanitizer, and use it frequently because all the surfaces you touch in the airplane may be contaminated. If you’re careful, that practice will lessen your chances of becoming sick.

Good luck,

Mary Pat