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Season’s greetings: ’tis germy time

Season’s greetings: ’tis germy time

Take cover and batten down the hatches, for ’tis the season to be germy. We’re nostril deep in the perilous certainty that ‘there’s definitely something nasty going round’, and if you haven’t yet spent a week snotting into your sleeve and binge-eating Strepsils, you’re either dead or bionic. If it’s the latter, keep it quiet

Take cover and batten down the hatches, for ’tis the season to be germy.

We’re nostril deep in the perilous certainty that ‘there’s definitely something nasty going round’, and if you haven’t yet spent a week snotting into your sleeve and binge-eating Strepsils, you’re either dead or bionic.

If it’s the latter, keep it quiet because science will want you for research.

The thing about this season is that we know there’s a high chance we’ll be struck down by some snotty-sneezy-coughy cold, and that if we take all precautions possible – dosing up on Echinacea and Vitamin C, drinking plenty of water, not licking the handrails on public transport – we might just get away with it.
What these precautions don’t protect us against, however, is the incredible generosity some people display when it comes to sharing their own germs. You know the sort of heinous specimens I mean:

The colleague who drags herself into your airless office, announces she’s horribly ill but had to turn up as she’s so important and indispensible, then phlegms over your keyboard;

The coffee barista who sneezes 173 times into their palm, then proceeds to press their slimy hand on to the lid of your coffee right over where you will place your thus-far healthy lips;

The guy who rises from his deathbed to come to the pub on the grounds that he ‘had to get out of the house’, then hacks microscopic plague granules into the air that come to rest on the rim of your glass.

The Waterloo commuter who sneezed down my neck, then, dissatisfied with where her moist pathogens had landed, repositioned herself so the next sneeze hit me squarely on the cheek;
The ‘friend’ who spent 10 minutes yelling at me, six inches from my face in a busy pub, then announced he had a ‘terrible cold’.

It is tantamount to being under attack. I’ve fallen victim to a classic pincer movement. My perpetrators surrounded me with such precision and determination, that I couldn’t evade them.

There’s also the subtle, all-encompassing way of incubating germs so they pervade our systems more thoroughly by turning up all radiators to a billion degrees and shutting all windows.

Ventilation is the parasite-sharer’s enemy. The process is simple: catch the germs, swill them round a stuffy airlock like dregs at the bottom of a glass, then wait for them to be gobbled up by some poor sod whose dedication to antibacterial handgel is rendered entirely pointless by this airborne scourge.

I wish you luck in the face of such evil, Surbiton. Or should I say Germiton!

Becky Mayhew
COLUMNIST
PROFILE

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