The other day at work I felt my lip swelling after eating something I knew was safe. Feeling frustrated, I scanned my mind listing out all the things I had eaten and handled during the day, focusing on what may have been risky. Then it clicked! I’d handled money in my purse only a few minutes before feeling like I was having a mild reaction. I must’ve touched my lip! I vaguely remember putting on chapstick and some of my hair got stuck to my lip after bending over to put my purse back down, and I used my hand to wipe it off. Ah-hah, I thought, and also how gross!!!
In hindsight, I should’ve taken the precaution to wipe my hands before touching my mouth, but I guess either I didn’t think about it or didn’t think it would amount to anything. Normally at work I do use hand sanitizer or just plain water and a tissue (since they give us free boxes) every so often at my desk to wipe my hands free of any possible contaminants, and wipe my keyboard and computer mouse. I do this as a precaution to try to keep from becoming itchy or having a more serious allergic reaction from accidental exposure, just like what happened with my money.
This mild reaction got me thinking about how contaminated money is. We all know money is full of germs, but it is also likely to be contaminated by peanut dust, and other food allergens, because it’s so highly switched from hand to hand and placed in various areas that may contain food particles. I actually pick up money for the Kentucky Humane Society “Belly Banks” and I got involved doing this because I wanted to volunteer with KHS, but knew I couldn’t be around the animals and their facilities since they use peanut butter heavily. Picking up money from places around town and bringing it to KHS has been rewarding, and a more safe way for me to contribute, but it came with it’s own surprising element that it could still put me into a reaction. I have to be really careful to not touch my face, and also make sure I wipe my car steering wheel, my purse, phone, anything I’ve touched after handling all the cash and coins.
I am now extra cautious of handling change in my coin purse and handling dollar bills. I’m not sure if I’ll go as far as to start washing my own coins and wiping dollar bills with a damp cloth or wipe, but honestly it isn’t a terrible idea, I just never pictured myself being that person! I should come to terms with it– I wipe most everything else already so why is such a widely recognized germy, contaminated thing like money getting an exception??
Are there any items you handle regularly that are likely to be peanut or food contaminated? Share in the comments!
As always, thanks for reading! XXOO