How keeping up with fashion could save your life

Girl looking at handbag
Not so good-looking when your personal go-everywhere companion is full of germs

Start with your handbag. How much more fashion does it get?

The latest from Prada or Hermes could set you back a fortune – and they only last a season. After that, they’re last year. Or last century. Gotta keep up.

Of course not all of us can stretch to a designer original.

But there’s still plenty reason to splash out on the latest, particularly your bag. And the best excuse ever.

Germs.

Well think about it. You carry it with you everywhere, you’ve got your whole life in there. But how often do you you clean it? REALLY clean it, that is – making sure the whole thing is safe and disinfected?

Far from soap and water

Because you do it with your hands don’t you? Wash before eating and after the loo, the hygiene part of keeping neat and presentable.

Meanwhile your bag goes through everything with you – trusty, reliable, always to hand. But pretty well every day without a bath. Plenty of opportunity for germs to get in there – and they do.

Only last week an independent laboratory report turned up a whole host of possible life-threatening bacteria in bags only a few months old. Nearly all of them were positive for serratia, enterobacter, aeromonas, staphylococcus epidermidis. pediococcus, hafnia and proteus.

Or worse, alive with potential threats leading to pneumonia, urinary tract infections, septicaemia, meningitis, diarrhoea, and soft tissue disorders. Exactly the fashion items nobody wants.

Oh sure, sure – you can try cleaning your bag. Climbing in with antibacterial wipes or whatever. Not likely to be effective because they don’t have the firepower. Not potent enough, not enough contact time. Most likely of all, unable get into every little fold and corner.

And you’re not likely to try anything too strong are you? It might stain or attack the lining – or make the whole thing smell of bleach. Impossible, right?

Saved by fashion

Time to go shopping – and treat yourself to a new one. Right in fashion and bang up to date. As if you could hold back your enthusiasm!

But think further and it’s not just handbags. There’s a whole slew of other fashion items to justify your indulgence too. Good, clean, hygienic reasons to replace what you have, because sterilising them is too hazardous or too difficult.

Washable clothes, for instance. Anything with pockets – jeans, shirts, whatever – where germs are most likely to gather. You probably wouldn’t hot-wash them – colours would run and they’d lose their texture.

But those gentle cold water washes will do zip for your health. To be sure of clobbering most germs, water needs to be at least 60⁰C – too hot to hold your hand under. They need time at that temperature too – exactly how to make things shrink so you’ll never get into them.

Actually, the germ problem sits with everything personal that takes a lot of handling. So the safe route is to disinfect what you can and replace what you can’t.

Personal threats all round

Your phone, keys, money and cosmetics containers can all be wiped down – good reason to carry antibacterial wipes everywhere. Wallets and purses too – not forgetting make-up or toiletries bags.

And if you need convincing, take a look at the smudges and smears on your touchscreen after only a few minutes. Them’s germs, waiting to get you. And being ill is never in fashion.

It’s less easy with bigger items equally as personal – especially with cold weather coming. Coats and jackets have pockets where things get put and long forgotten. They’re not cleaned every day either, maybe not even for a whole winter. All kinds of nasties in there, ew!

OK, so dry clean them.

Not as safe as replacing. The heat is not hot enough or long enough to be sure of killing germs. And the perchlorethylene solvent most cleaners use only partially kills bacteria.

How about gloves and scarves?

Total germ factories – outside and in.

Clean hands made dirty

Outside of course, gloves touch everything that everybody else does – handles, grab rails, knobs, hanging straps, push bars, balustrades – everything in the tube, on the bus. Comes the end of the day – total yuck. And we still grab them in our teeth while we scramble for our front door keys!

Inside is even riskier because we never think to clean them. And our hands go in after whatever they’re been doing. Sometimes clean, most often not – picking up a growing colony of germs that never get looked at. And who ever cleans gloves?

Different materials, silk, leather and wool. Pull skew, shrink, distort and probably easily strained by the cleaner too. Doable but difficult. Replace, replace, replace. You get the picture.

And scarves wrapped round your face? All those germs near your mouth and nose? Do yourself a favour!

All of which is why buying new is good for your health – and could actually save your life. You’re in fashion and the pink of good health too.

Clever you. Good-looking too.

Picture Copyright: micchaelpuche / 123RF Stock Photo

OK, scumbag norovirus, now the gloves are off

Aggro bizwoman
POW! Straight disciplined hand hygiene wins every time

So you’re the winter vomiting bug, huh?

Big deal.

Reckon we’re not wise to you, hanging out on ATMs, door handles, handrails and shopping trolleys? You and your mates, coronavirus – aka SARS and MERS – flu and staph?

OK, so we touch all of these things all the time anyway. Covered in germs like you.

Winter germ traps

So now it’s freezing cold and we’re wearing gloves, you’re trying to kid us that we don’t know you’re there.

Nice try, dirt-bag – but it won’t work.

Those gloves are getting the treatment with antibacterial wipes after every outing – then they’re coming off. Straight onto a desk or table to dry, so you guys don’t get a chance.

No breeding, right? This means you!

You know what happens then?

Yeah, you think we’re lulled into a false security, don’t you? The gloves are off, now we’re safe.

But the joke’s on you, germ-brain. We’re going to wash our hands straight away too. Handling gloves transfers you to our fingers – so it’s the big bye-bye, we’re giving you the wash-off.

And you know what?

Hands always clean

We’re giving our hands ANOTHER wash or the gel treatment before we put those gloves back on too.

Because, yeah, we know you hang about on surfaces and in the air indoors too – riding in on our clothing, or the bio-aura of personal bacteria we all carry with us.

Uh huh. So we know if there’s low-life germs like you on our hands when we put our gloves on, you’ll be waiting for us INSIDE next time too.

Not smart enough, bozo.

With near-sterile hands, the inside of our gloves stay near-sterile.

And count on it – with a BOLO always out for you and your kind at this time of the year – those gloves are going in the wash just as often as regular clothes.

Thought we’d forget, eh?

Just shove the gloves in our pocket and never think about them from one day to the next? Never wash them, never anything from one year to another. Unless we get yuck on them, lose one, or get a hole in the finger.

Scarves too, you think we’re stupid?

Or you think because we wear classy gloves to work or out on the town, we’re too scared to wash them because they’re made of suede or leather?

Wash and re-wash

Hoo boy, don’t you know we’re on to you?

Thanks to your other pals like MRSA, e.coli and the rest of the mob, we know our meds aren’t working as well as they used to. Antimicrobial resistance, it’s in all the papers. No-go antibiotics, yeah we know about them – why do you think we’re washing our hands every two seconds – because we’re OCD?

The Docs have been warning us for years us about hygiene standards with you lot around – that staying clean is now our best defence, like back in the old days.

And finally, FINALLY, we’re wising up – going back to the old way of doing things. Soap and water, rub and scrub.

Like cleaning leather gloves? Easy-peasy. Leather, silk, suede – we know how.

Even those super-warm Thinsulate gloves too.

AND scarves. AND turning out coat pockets – jackets, skirts, trousers, everything. Clean is the new cool.

Yeah, plus our timing is spot on as well.

Here comes the festive season with everyone anguishing over what gifts to buy…

For her, for him

BOOM! Extra gloves, extra scarves – so there’s always a pair to wear, a pair in the wash, a pair air-drying, and a pair waiting for next time.

And always clean hands to go inside them.

So you’re the famous norovirus. Well bully for you.

Yah, boo, sucks – the Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease.

Just because it’s winter, you can’t fool us any more.

The gloves are off.