Steel Advice: Shake off those germ phobias

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DEAR STEEL ADVICE:  I am in a business in where I meet many people and often in the position where a hand is extended for me to shake. I hate shaking hands. Hate it. People generally are lax in their hygiene yet they cling to this custom. I envision the nose pickers pressing the flesh and passing on their cooties each time that paw is pushed out in my direction. Do I just suck it up and get some handy hand sanitizer or relax and go with the (nasal) flow? — HATE SHAKIN’ IT

DEAR HATE SHAKIN’IT: When a hand is offered, accept it. Keep your imagination under control and stop overthinking where the hand may have been. Germs are invisible and germs are everywhere. It makes sense to carry a little bottle of sanitizer with you and use it at your first opportunity after a handshake. Plan on never touching your eyes or face after an encounter until you have spritzed your hands. Fist bumps and hugs are popular ways to greet people today; however I would not suggest either in a business situation.

Before you get yourself in a real tizzy, take a deep breath, remember you carry your own little bottle of disinfectant and shake the person’s hand. Shake it like you mean it!

DEAR STEEL ADVICE: My wife is a snorer and she has sleep apnea. She wears her CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) mask every night but often takes it off during the night because it can get uncomfortable. When my wife removes the mask she almost always ends up snoring and I wake up. Sometimes the escaping air sound from her mask wakes me up. My nights often end up being a series of naps rather than a solid good night’s sleep. I have earplugs but they only partially block out the noise and they don’t allow me to watch TV while falling asleep which I like to do. I have suggested that I make our guest bedroom my sleep room. My wife cringes at that idea. Her opinion is that our becoming what she calls one of those couples who sleep separately would be a sign of a failed marriage. I don’t see it that way. What can I do?


DEAR HUSBAND IN THE GUEST ROOM: Couples who enjoy the intimacy of sharing a marital bed describe sleeping with their partner as one of the most rewarding parts of being a couple. Other couples relish the privacy of their own space. Sleeping separately is not the sign of a failed marriage. Some people eat crackers in bed and their mates cannot stand the crumbs. Snoring, late night television and different work schedules are other common reasons couples choose to sleep in different rooms. Ask your wife to talk with her doctor to explore the latest CPAP machines that are smaller, more comfortable and almost silent. New products that may not have been around when your wife first got her CPAP are receiving positive reviews. If you retreat to the guest room keep your clothes and toiletries in the master bedroom. In a short time the new arrangement will seem very natural and your wife will not feel she sent you to the dog house.

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