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Lack of cleanliness a health risk - The Red and Black : Opinion

Lack of cleanliness a health risk

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Posted: Monday, October 17, 2005 12:00 am

No one comes to college expecting dorm showers to be sparkling clean all the time.

In fact, I would venture to say most people are accustomed to community shower grunge.

However, there is one question I must ask: Is it too much to ask for a monthly scrub down?

Sweeping out hair and stagnant water is a great weekly practice for maintaining shower sanitation. Unfortunately, the mold growing on the walls and under the floor mat doesn't receive any attention during this cleaning.

Every morning at 7 o'clock I wake up and shower before my Spanish class. I have to balance so I don't touch too much of the surroundings while in the shower.

Being tired and a little clumsy doesn't help my mood, but I don't think the other residents are any happier.

All of this might sound like prissy diatribe. However, the state of cleanliness in the dorm bathrooms actually is unhealthy for students.

Mold is a great contributor to allergies for many people. An article from Harvard's Medical School Consumer Health Information said, "Next to pollen, molds are the leading cause of airborne allergies."

The article also said, "Unlike outdoor molds, indoor varieties can cause allergies year-round."

A life-long sufferer of many allergies including mold, I have noticed an increase in my symptoms since moving into the dorm. Granted, my symptoms are a mixture of outdoor and indoor allergies, but it is extremely irritating to constantly be stuffed-up and itchy.

An article from the patient newsletter of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology said, "Molds or fungi may also directly irritate the upper respiratory passages of the nose, sinuses and the lungs."

I may have allergies and a small amount of asthma, but even students who have been free from these annoyances before moving into the dorms are susceptible now.

Molds are dangerous to all students since exposure over a long period of time can cause asthma and/or an allergic reaction.

I have contemplated cleaning the shower myself before stepping in. The problem that arises there is that the University already is paying the janitorial staff to do that very job.

I'm not necessarily ragging on the staff because they may not have the supplies they need to do the job.

One day after working out at Ramsey, I took a shower there because our water pressure in the dorm was being worked on. I was amazed at the top-notch cleaning job the staff there had done to the showers. I even contemplated working out every day just to take advantage of the clean showers.

The plan didn't pan out, but it seems strange that those facilities would be cleaner than the ones in the dorms.

Really, all I'm asking for is a once-a-month true cleaning of the showers. Take out the floor mat, role up the curtain and scrub.

Healthy living is an issue everyone cares about.

Although life in the dorm should be "an experience," it shouldn't have to be an unhealthy one.

- Whitney Kessler is a freshman majoring in pre-journalism

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