I’ll admit, I’ve been called a germophobe in the past. Since then, I think having a dog has definitely helped me let go a little. However, I have a very weak immune system and I tend to get sick more often than others. Therefore, when I showed up to UC Berkeley this semester I was horrified to notice that a huge majority of women didn’t wash their hands in the restroom. Or if they did, it was a fake wash. A little water, a little soap, rinse immediately and dry. FYI that doesn’t kill germs. The CDC actually recommends scrubbing with soap for at least 20 seconds.
As I was in bed last night watching YouTube videos I came across a clip of The Daily Show in which Trevor Noah said something about how “hand washing isn’t required, you cant be arrested for not washing your hands, but its a guarantee that shit isn’t spread”. (Unfortunately I cant remember the exact video, but if I end up finding it I will post the link).
This video made me laugh, but then I started thinking about mandatory immunizations. Honestly, I don’t want to take a side on the debate. I know it is super controversial and I know people on both ends of the spectrum; some hate vaccines and some swear by them.
Now, many of you may not realize this, but a new immunization requirement went into effect this year at UC BERKELEY. All newly admitted students are now required to show proof of an exhaustive list of vaccines, going back to when you were a kid. If you don’t have proof, you have to get a blood test. If your blood shows you don’t have those immunity’s, than you have to get the vaccine. The only one that I am missing is the chicken pox vaccine. I have been procrastinating it because it is a live vaccine and you can have side effects. It freaks me out, but at the same time, getting chicken pox as an adult sounds wayyyyyyy worse. I’ll get it eventually.
Anyhow, in the past when there has been an outbreak of some disease, I have heard people in the news say that vaccines should be mandatory because they have children that are immune deficient etc. If this is one of the main reasons driving the vaccine laws, I’m curious to see how much further this will go in the future. In many areas, parents no longer have a choice on whether to give their children vaccines or not. According to procon.org, “No US federal vaccination laws exist, but all 50 states have laws requiring children to be vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (generally in a DTaP vaccine); polio (an IPV vaccine); and measles and rubella (generally in an MMR vaccine).”
Where the hell am I going with all this?
I guess I am wondering how far away we are from mandatory laws requiring hand washing or other forms of personal hygiene. If someone doesn’t wash their hands in the restroom and then they go touch the door handle in my classroom, in a way, they are putting me at risk. Is that legal? What are my rights in the eyes of the law?
A few months ago I posted something on Facebook about the lack of hand washing I noticed. It was amazing how many people had an opinion on this. They advocated for germ exposure and insisted that hand sanitizer should not be overused or maybe never used. They say that it destroys your bodies ability to fight off germs in the future. But c’mon, you don’t even wash them in the bathroom?
Yes, I get it, you should be exposed to germs. Yes, it does help your immune system. BUT where do you draw the line? Do you want me to go lick the fucking railing at the public transit station? What about the cross walk button? Slurp. How far will go to protect ourselves from disease? Probably too far in my opinion. We always seem to go to far.