The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Skin Irritations, Viruses, and Cold Sores, Oh My!
There are some things in life that we have learned to live with, as they are not always noticeable, but other times, there is no hiding some of the stuff our body, specifically, our largest organ, the human skin, which shows just what might be happening on the inside. From freckles to pimples to baggy eyes and lines under our eyes, from messy hair, oily skin, rashes, or even a cold sore.
For the majority of the time spent at the office or any workplace, most of us do our best to appear presentable and comfortable in our own skin. There are times, however, when it is just not possible. If you get a cold or the flu, for example, and you still manage to get to work, you realize just how much energy and work it takes to look presentable, including how much effort goes into every smile and interaction with a client, customer, co-worker, or a boss. After a long day of work, whether your job is labor-intensive or not, you are exhausted from trying to appear well, despite feeling miserable on the inside.
Most men get up, brush their teeth, go to the bathroom, take a hot shower, shave, run a brush through their hair, or ignore the comb altogether, eat breakfast, read a few parts of the newspaper, and head to work. If they have children, they may help out and do a few things, but that is about all the effort men put into getting up and going to work.
Women, on the other hand, get up, make sure the children are up, head to the bathroom to do their business, brush their teeth, shower, but cover their hair up, as today is not the day to wash hair, and if it is, they must dedicate at least 10 to 20 minutes washing their hair. After their shower, they must make sure the children are up and ready for school, including showered and wearing appropriate clothes. While doing this, they attempt to put on their clown faces – I mean makeup – and then prepare some breakfast for the children, while also making sure their children have lunch. They too, have to eat breakfast, and ensure they have prepared a lunch for themselves. Not only for their children and themselves, but their husband as well, and any pets that require sustenance. They are then ready to head to work.
Everyday at the office is mental preparation for the day that is to come. Whether you love or hate your job, you must be prepared to face the day. Finally, you are ready to sit down and work, and then your boss approaches you. And you notice it, he or she has a cold sore.
You know you should not make a big deal about it because its just the herpes simplex virus unleashing itself on someone’s face, at the most inopportune time. It is also your boss and you really cannot say anything to them. You know they know they have a cold sore on their face and you want them no where near you in order to avoid risking infection, though your boss thinks it is completely normal and acts as if nothing is wrong, standing to you as closely as possible, and talking to you, all while you fear that if they come any closer to you, you are surely to get infected.
Fortunately, the only way that your boss could give it to you is if they kiss your mouth, but the point is, the cold sore is just noticeable and there is nothing you can do about it except cringe at the fact that the next two or three days, maybe even a week, your boss is going to have a cold sore on their lip.
You know you are happy it is not you. You do not even think you have the potential chance of ever getting a cold sore. In fact, you have never had one, so you must not have the herpes virus, and if you did, you certainly would do something about it to cover it up at work.
Luckily for many of us, we have never had to deal with the embarrassment of the public humiliation that a virus can cause on our skin. When it does happen, bite your lip, and just go about your day. There is no reason to make anyone feel embarrassed about a virus that the human race cannot eradicate.
For those unlucky few, there is nothing wrong with you. There is no cure for the herpes simplex virus, and the reason it comes out is because of stress, weakened immune system, poor diet, too much sodium in your diet, menstrual cycle, or other skin irritations. Find some medicine at your local grocery store to help ease and heal it. The body eventually recovers and restores the virus back to a dormant state.
This article was inspired by a former boss of mine, whose cold sore was so huge, and so hard not to notice, that he probably should have taken a personal day, or three, or actually, the entire week, but he was so anal-retentive about his company going to hell in his absence, that he showed up anyway and decided to proudly show off his cold sore to everyone.