Hand Washing


My friend and I went out to see a film, and before entering the auditorium, I stopped by the restroom because my undergarments were giving me grief. I did not use the restroom, but I did take care of the annoyance. I did not, however, wash my hands.

Later after the film, my friend and I went out to eat. Hands still unwashed, I touched his food by accident. I asked him if he minded; he responded saying he assumed I had washed my hands sometime between the film and the meal (I had not). To avoid embarrassment, I simply did not answer.

The very next day, he started experiencing soreness with flu-like symptoms.

My question is twofold, I suppose. First, is it even likely that I am the one who got him sick? Second, would I have to confess to him the whole underpants scenario and the omission of the hand washing?


You may be analyzing the situation too much. I hope he never asked again. As to your questions; first off I have no idea but would highly doubt it and second I wouldn’t but it’s not my conscience so in the end it’s up to you.


Flu-like/cold symptoms are normally caused by droplet infection (carried in the saliva and spread by coughing, sneezing etc) and in any case, they wouldn’t develop in less than 24 hours.

If by some extremely slim chance you had picked up something virulent on your hands, it would be more likely to give someone a tummy bug. Your friend’s infection has nothing to do with your lack of hand-washing, IMHO.


I work in the care industry so I am little addicted to hygiene, but some advice for future reference is to carry alcohol gel round with you. I always use it after going too public toilets, just before eating in restaurants etc.

Now specifically to your question…stop worrying about it. Unless you your self are ill, it’s highly unlikely he would have caught anything from you. He’s probably just caught a cold and it’s an unfortunate coincidence. Even if you have got a cold yourself, he would have caught it from being in close proximity to you, not because you failed to wash your hands.


Confess? Heavens no! The other posts are wise in suggesting carrying alcohol wipes and the unlikelihood of infection. Always wash your hands after entering any public loo. Open the doors when you leave with some paper and dispose. You have no idea of the animals out there.


I don’t know if you got him sick, but you really should wash your hands more often before eating. All of the things you touch during the day other people with really nasty hands are also touching. Its a dirty world out there with a lot of dirty people.


It was highly unlikely that you made him unwell…

flu is usually spread through people coughing and sneezing in the air without covering their mouth and nose with a tissue…

so likely someone with flu probably coughed and sneezed somewhere your friend has been and he unluckly breathed ln the droplets in the air from their cough and sneeze and caught flu…

Do wash your hands regularly through the day though…its one way they reckon minimises catching/spreading flu


The flu incubation period, according to what I read online, is anywhere between 24 hours and 4 days, with 2 days being the average.

If you don’t have the flu, I think it’d be more likely he picked it up from somewhere else, including the movie theater, since it’s a public place with a lot of people, some sick.

Either way, I’d encourage you to try to move on.

I think it’s more likely that he picked it up from another place and someone else.


Don’t worry yourself. Your friend’s illness could have been caused by any number of vectors. It’s highly unlikely you caused this.


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