Migraines and handwashing

I had to pee, so I stopped in the bathroom next to the coffee shop—the bathroom I knew stocked strongly perfumed soap.

After I did my business, I breezed by a woman washing her hands.

“No handwashing?!” she said in a chiding tone.

I didn’t stop. “Nope!”

Sure. I could have explained the reason I wasn’t washing my hands was because I had a migraine and the smell of the soap would exacerbate it. Even if I didn’t have a migraine, the smell of the soap could trigger one.

But I shouldn’t have to. First of all, bathrooms shouldn’t stock perfumed or fragranced soap, because it actively harms people with allergies and people with migraines.

Second, mind your own damn business. You don’t know me. You’re assuming I’m not washing my hands because I’m lazy or dirty, but that’s not for you to judge.

I recognize that frequent hand washing helps to stop the spread of bacteria and viruses that can really harm those with weakened immune systems, which is why I frequently use the unscented hand sanitizer stocked everywhere in my building. I also wash my hands regularly in our staff bathroom, which has unscented soap.

Forgoing one hand washing to avoid worsening already awful pain is legitimate. So get the hell out of my face.

(I actually carry around a little bottle of unscented soap for public restrooms, but I don’t bring it to work because I don’t usually need it here. Seventh Generation’s unscented hand soap is my favorite.)

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