Opinion: The pandemic creates a new generation of germaphobes

COVID-19 is causing many people to obsess over cleanliness, which is influencing youth.


Anna Wilkinson

Signs inform Sutter Health Clinic visitors about symptoms of COVID-19.

“Stay inside and wash your hands.”

I am sure you have heard this from various figures of authority throughout the past month. While washing your hands is very important, buying all the hand sanitizer in the store because you are terrified of germs is absurd.

When you return home from the store with 20 bottles of soap and an exponential amount of scented hand sanitizer and force your children to wash their hands every five minutes, what do you think that is telling them?

Our world’s current situation calls for everyone to be sanitary, but the youth are most affected by hysteria surrounding this topic. They will start thinking that this is normal and become germaphobes, especially because children ages 8-12 are the most influenced by their parents’ actions. 

germaphobe is someone who has an irrational fear of germs or contamination. This is not someone who loves washing their hands and being clean; it is someone who is terrified of being dirty.

A friend of mine came up to me and said they love being a germaphobe because it helps them stay clean. While it is good to be clean and wash hands when needed, the amount that some people are doing now is aberrant.

I wouldn’t consider myself a full-fledged germaphobe. However, I try to touch money as little as I can, I never put my hands on the ground unless I wash them immediately afterward, and I either wash or sanitize my hands before every class. Sounds crazy, right? 

Well, it turns out I am not the only one who is terrified of germs; our president is as well, although he never mentioned it up until this past year. According to Politico, he describes himself as a germaphobe and finds handshakes “barbaric.” Yet in almost any video of him, you can find him shaking hands with the people he meets. He is just one person amongst the many that have said they are a germaphobe since the beginning. Overall, people need to stay clean but need to not throw around the term “germaphobe” unless they understand what they are implying.

Remember to stay inside, wash your hands, and stop buying a surplus of hand sanitizer.