Newsweek, “Gadget Lust: Keeping the Germs (and the Hypochondria) at Bay” August 30, 2014
“On a trip to England when I was 15, I was forced by my well-meaning but clueless parents to wait in line for over an hour to get into the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Aside from the obvious injustice of forcing a teenager to parade through a museum with exhibits such as Sextants Through History—which was even more annoying once I realized sextants had nothing to do with sex—I had to wait in a sea of people—sweaty, dirty, germ-laden people. As I milled about, surrounded by the great unwashed, my latent fear of germs bloomed like staphylococcus in a warm Petri dish.
…I am not alone in my germ-trollin’. The marketplace is full of gadgets and tools to keep the little baddies at bay. There is the Trayguard, a washable antimicrobial cover for airplane tray tables that uses copper and silver ions to keep disgusting things from attacking you, because we all know those tables don’t get washed more than once a decade. (To clean the armrests, there is Lysol in a handy TSA-approved travel size.) Disposable sheets are available in case you need to cover the bus station bathroom floor because you have to change your clothes. Magellan’s Travel Supplies offers Flight Spray, a nasal spray that contains Hawaiian turmeric and spearmint—natural antiseptics—to defend your nasal passages while you fly. Or you can buy your own hazmat suit, but since I hate how my butt looks in a hazmat suit, I tested a few products that addressed specific concerns I have when I’m traveling or out and about, to see if they could help calm me down.
In a world where Ebola, MERS and measles are ever-more pressing dangers, perhaps you think my focus on personal germ warfare is a tad silly. Maybe. But I will still let you borrow my Lysol.
Either way, go wash your hands.”
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