"Someone in your house have the sniffles? Watch out for the refrigerator
door handle. The TV remote, too. A new study finds that cold sufferers often
leave their germs there, where they can live for two days or longer."
"Next, the researchers deliberately contaminated surfaces with participants'
mucus and then tested to see whether rhinovirus stuck to their fingers when
they turned on lights, answered the phone or did other common tasks. More
than half of the participants got the virus on their fingertips 48 hours after
the mucus was smeared."
In other words, it's not even necessary for someone to have coughed or
sneezed directly in my face for me to have gotten the virus that precipitated my
CFS. I rode the commuter bus; someone on another run may have left the germs
on the seat or the door -- someone I never even crossed paths with. I worked
in a multi-story office building, and the ground-floor tenant was a bank: a
thousand people each day touched the door handles that I had to use to get
into the building.
They recommend frequent hand-washing to avoid the spread of germs, but what
if you wash your hands and then pick up the germ on your clean hands when you
turn off the faucet or open the bathroom door? You think your hands are
clean enough to eat your lunch safely, but really, you've just added new germs.
8 years ago, when even going to the doctor 4 blocks away was enough exertion
to send me to bed for days, I went out precisely once in a two-week span: to
the corner store to buy milk. There were no other customers when I arrived,
and the owner did not appear to be sick. Nonetheless, I came down with
something, which clearly was picked up from the handle of the dairy cooler,
because I hadn't been out of the house for over a week and hadn't touched anything
else. Then I transferred the bug to whatever I touched between buying the
milk and washing my hands -- my keys, my doorknob, my clothes, my fridge, the
faucet knobs... so even if I'd washed my hands immediately after putting the
milk in the fridge, the bugs were now in my house waiting to be picked up on
my clean hands.
Many CFS patients describe a particularly virulent illness, one strong
enough to overwhelm even the healthiest habits and immune system. Don't think
that you can't get it just because you didn't see a sick person while you were
out and about; the virus could be lurking anywhere for you to pick it up.
CFS is a contagious disease, and there's no vaccine against it. If you
don't have it yet, you may get it tomorrow. But CDC is more interested in
playing word games talking about "stress" than to address the proven
biological/infectious cause, so you and your family are at risk. And a lot of people have
noted "karma", that the people who dispute the reality of CFS often are
disabused of their beliefs when they get it themselves.
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