Sometimes it’s best not to share

  • Sunday, April 20, 2014

Congratulations to all the Cooper River Bridge runners, walkers, volunteers, organizers and supportive spectators!

I have the dubious distinction of being one of the runners in the first and second CRB runs. We had to fight the oncoming traffic on the then “new” bridge and runners were very disliked.

I had some things thrown at me while running on East Bay Street. It was also ran on the Grace, which would sway and sway. Remember? Anyhow, enough about me.

Dear Liz,

How do you get middle schoolers to be more aware of illness prevention? My observation is that while they become very conscious of their appearance and that type of hygiene – they share food, drinks, makeup, brushes, etc. Our family caught the horrible middle school stomach bug that is going around. We practice good hygiene at home and the kids are good about it here. But when they are with their friends – well – I did teach them to share.


Dear “Yuk,”

Thank you for the both entertaining and serious letter and concern. Middle schoolers are more than unique. I love the joke I always share, “The first day they love school, second day they hate school and the third day they can't find school.” It is a fascinating time in development and a gray-hair-making challenge for parents and teachers. They are big bundles of blossoming talents and raging, uneven hormones. They love their friends deeply (and then can despise them the next day), so during the all-sweet stages they are very lovey with one another, willing to share everything, including germs. They don't want to look freaky by being careful when everyone else is being casual.

So for all you kids out there: the stomach bug is not a good way to lose weight. It is largely preventable, as are other bacterial and viral illnesses that can be very serious. Do not share makeup! Serious skin and especially eye infections can occur. Discard your mascara every six months or more frequently if you have been sick. Lice are unpleasant and very common in our area. Lots of beautiful long hair to latch onto. Wash and dry makeup brushes regularly. Discard or sanitize your toothbrush frequently – especially after being sick. Blame it on your mom – if you want to – or me! Tell your friends it is a family rule that you cannot share personal items, sorry. I suggest boys carry a “loaning” comb if you are frequently asked and kids don't take no for an answer.

Same for girls, and add a little loaner makeup kit with disposable Q-tips. That requires a larger purse of course. While you are at it, carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your purses and book bags. Share THAT with your friends and always wash your hands before you eat or prepare food (use soap, and sing the ABC song or “Happy Birthday” as you do to wash long enough). Of course, wash after using the restroom, and in public places and after being out in school or other places touching lots of stuff – wash before and after. While you are at it, turn off faucets and open bathroom doors with your paper towel so you don't get re-infected. See, all my training and certification as a health educator paid off – and can make you a little nuts. Stay healthy.

Contact Liz via asksharpliz@gmail.com. Liz Brisacher Sharp is a Master degree-level Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice with 35 years experience in mental health.

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