Clean Hands, Safe Salons (Part 1)

With a renewed focus on infection control in the beauty industry, we welcome Leslie Roste, RN, BSN, our first-ever guest.

Leslie gives practical advice and her expert opinions on a range of topics.

Show Notes

Recorded Friday, March 20, 2020)

Resources:

Centers for Disease Control – Special website for Coronavirus (COVID-19) 

Barbicide – Leading manufacturer of disinfectant

Barbicide – Coronavirus Information

Barbicide Back-to-Work Plan – Guidelines for reopening and operating safely

Barbicide Certification – Free online infection control course

Barbicide COVID 19 Certification – Free online coronavirus course

MentalHealth.gov – National resources for mental health care

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Edited for length and clarity.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

ASHLEY: Welcome back to Outgrowth Podcast: A Slice of Pro Beauty.

JAIME: With your hosts Jaime Schrabeck.

ASHLEY: And Ashley Gregory. We are all experiencing an unprecedented situation in our businesses and communities. So we have a guest this week to help us navigate our questions and concerns.

JAIME: Stay tuned for a very informative interview with Leslie Roste, the beauty industry’s leading infection control expert. Let’s grow together. 

JAIME: Ashley, you missed a fabulous interview due to your emergency dental surgery.

ASHLEY: Yes, I would have much rather been a part of this awesome interview instead of getting a root canal, but what can you do? Leslie is a wealth of information and a very valuable resource, especially now.

JAIME: Every beauty professional needs to listen to this episode.

ASHLEY: I totally agree. Okay, everyone. Here’s the interview with Leslie.  

JAIME: We’re so lucky to have Leslie Roste here today. She is someone that I’ve encountered on numerous occasions through her trips to California, to state board meetings and to legislative hearings, and also to the trade shows that we both travel to across the country. Leslie, thank you so much for being here today.

LESLIE: I’m excited that you asked me to participate.

JAIME: Wonderful. Please tell us about your connection to the beauty industry.

LESLIE: So I started working in the beauty industry about 11 years ago now. I have actually no experience as any sort of cosmetologist, nail tech, esthetician, anything. I am a nurse and my background is in nursing. I have my BSN and I have a degree in microbiology. My background has served me well in the job that I do, which is I’m the national director of education for King Research, and we manufacture Barbicide, something probably quite a few of you are familiar with. I guess in the industry, I’m an infection control subject matter expert, as, as exciting as that sounds.

JAIME: I’m so impressed that you have this expertise that you’ve taken from all of your years of experience. Could you give us a little background on what you did in nursing?

LESLIE: Got out of nursing school as a very young, little spring chicken and I worked in the inner city. It was baptism by fire and I worked in labor and delivery and the emergency room. And then when I was going back to school, I worked as an infection control nurse in the hospital setting. All of those things combined ultimately led me to where I am today. I was really concerned when I took this job that I wouldn’t know what to say to cosmetologists, like I wouldn’t have a message for them. This industry has been very welcoming to me and I really appreciate that people have been willing to listen. I think people will listen even more now to the message of why it’s important to do things safely in this industry. Your livelihood is based on having services to do and having customers that feel safe doing them, coming to get a service. And so I think that this whole thing is going to point out to people the importance of not just making someone feel good and look pretty, feel better about themselves, but also feel safe while they’re getting that service. I appreciate that this industry has welcomed me with open arms.

JAIME: Let’s take a step back to our time and beauty school and let’s start with the basics because in beauty school, we learned three terms: sanitation, disinfection, and sterilization. If you could describe for us the differences among those things.

LESLIE: Okay. So one of the things that may have changed since you were in school, you know, if you’ve been out for 10 years or more it likely has changed for you, is that the term sanitation we try to avoid. It’s no longer in the textbooks. It’s not in most of the states’ rules. It’s been replaced by the word clean, which has really, no pun intended, a cleaner way of saying  that we clean, disinfect, and then, if required, we sterilize. So cleaning and disinfection go hand in hand, and that also was, no pun intended, now that I say that. Cleaning is for just about anything and it’s typically a mechanical process. If I vacuum my carpet, I’m picking things up off the carpet. I’m not killing them. Some of them might die in the process, but I’m not actually killing any of the things that might be on my carpet. If I wash my hands, I’m taking things off the surface of my hands and they’re running down the drain, but I’m not necessarily killing anything. So cleaning is typically a mechanical process where things move together. You think about your washing machine where all the towels all do the little dance together and they’re knocking things off of each other, and that knocking things off of each other allows pathogens, for example, to go down the drain. The next step that you would do on your hard nonporous surfaces is disinfection. Disinfection is intended to kill things. So we use chemicals that are called disinfectants. The EPA calls them pesticides cause they are killing bugs. They’re killing bacteria, viruses, and fungi. And their intent is to kill things on those hard nonporous surfaces. We’re talking typically about glass, metals, plastics, things like that. Now, people ask me all the time about disinfecting towels, disinfecting your hands, things like that, which, sorry to say, scientifically speaking cannot be done. The best you can do for those items is get them very clean. Use the mechanical processes to get pathogens off the top, and then move to disinfection for your nonporous surfaces. When we talked specifically about coronavirus, one of the things we know is that coronavirus research, it literally just came out in the last 24 hours, it tells us that COVID-19 will live on surfaces, hard nonporous surfaces, particularly plastics and metals, for up to four days. So it is really vitally important that you are disinfecting those hard nonporous surfaces on a regular basis.

JAIME: So let me ask, is that why we’re being told to hand-wash even though in doing so we’re only using something that’s classified as an antibacterial soap, there’s no such thing as an antiviral soap that we could be using on our hands?

LESLIE: Yeah. So interesting thing about soap. I’m not a fan of antibacterial soap. I would be the first person to tell you not to buy antibacterial soap, because what makes soap work is the bubbles. All those bubbles bouncing around on your hands are what pulls things off of your hands and down in the sink. If I were to use a soap that’s antibacterial, one of the things that we know is that our hands are covered at all times with good bacteria. We like that because good bacteria makes it impossible for bad things to take up residence on our hands, on any other part of our body, because the space is already taken, so to speak. And if I go to the bathroom and I wash my hands with antibacterial soap, and to your point, it’s not antiviral and it’s not antifungal and anti doesn’t mean it kills it. It just means it reduces the growth of bacteria. So now I go to my bathroom and I use my antibacterial soap. If it’s going to work on any bacteria, what’s it going to work on? My good bacteria. Now I have killed off what is actually a protective feature for me, or I’ve pulled it off of my body, and now my good bacteria is gone, which leaves space, if you will, for bad things to take up residence on my hands or whatever other part of my body I’ve used it on. Epidemiologists would call that selection. We’re selecting for worse bacteria. We’re, we’re doing something that doesn’t benefit us. My favorite thing to tell everybody is, just get something with bubbles. And in this time of crisis where everyone’s having a hard time finding things, whatever makes bubbles will work when you’re washing your hands, and get a good lather going and get all kinds of bubbles on your hands. It’s why we give children soap that already is foaming because children are not very patient and we want all those bubbles to do their job. That 20 seconds or 30 seconds where we’re singing the happy birthday song or the ABC song is actually really important. It takes a little bit of friction to get everything to come off your hands and down the sink.

JAIME: So that takes care of our skin. What about those hard surfaces and the ingredients in disinfectants that make them effective? What are those active ingredients?

LESLIE: Okay. I do want to say one more thing about your skin that I might have missed. Hand sanitizer.

JAIME: Yes.

LESLIE: I should’ve brought up hand sanitizer. Everyone’s talking about it. We actually make it so I should have had it front of mind. If I had to say good, better, and best in terms of hand  hygiene, obviously the gold standard is washing your hands without a doubt. It’s far more effective for everything. In a pinch, if you can’t, don’t have time to do it, you can use hand sanitizer. You should never use hand sanitizer after you’ve used the restroom, after you’ve eaten, or after you’ve smoked, things where you would either touch your hands or obviously going to the restroom, you’re touching other things. But hand sanitizer does a fairly good job. It’s better than nothing. If I, today I went to the grocery store, I shop for five people right now, and I did bring hand sanitizer with me so that I could use it before I pushed the cart around, after I pushed the cart around, after I put the bags in my trunk, all of those types of things so hand sanitizer does have some benefits when you don’t have anything else to use. I would caution people against trying to make your own hand sanitizer. There’s lots of stories coming out in the nursing news about people getting burns from doing it, so I would caution you against trying to make your own.

JAIME: You actually answered a question that I had for you about making hand sanitizer, so that was awesome. Thank you for doing that.

LESLIE: Look, if somebody wants to try and do it, I can’t stop you. One thing I would tell you is that the recipes, so to speak, that I’ve seen, they all say 70% alcohol or higher. I would not go above 70% alcohol. The interesting thing about alcohol is that alcohol requires water as part of it to be the catalyst for that disinfecting if it will act on, right? For it to actually work against things, it needs water. I would not use 99% alcohol or actually anything above 70%. 70% alcohol is the gold standard for fighting against basically any kind of bug you’re trying to fight with alcohol.

JAIME: And this is on skin.

LESLIE: That’s on skin. Now, when we talk about disinfectants, which was your next question. 

JAIME: Yes.

LESLIE: There are lots of different disinfectants. If you’ve looked at the EPA’s N list which they have generated recently, it probably confuses you more than it helps you. It’s not really designed for end users to read. But all disinfectants are made with some type of a raw chemical. Most of the chemicals you’re seeing on that N list are raw chemicals that somebody buys and makes something else with, so to speak. So I’ve been telling people, if you’re looking to buy disinfectant, they’re getting very, very scarce right now. Make contact with the company if you do not see human coronavirus on the label. And most of us have that on our website right up front right now that we are effective against it because a lot of people never put it on their label. Because until two months ago, human coronavirus was mostly the common cold. That really was what it mostly caused, and there was not a lot of concern over that out in the world. I think that one of the things that I would tell people right now is to look for human coronavirus on a label. But if you do not see it on the label, do not panic. Do not think your product doesn’t work. Just go to the website and look. The type of product we make is a quaternary ammonia product.   Quaternary ammonia products are considered, say for use with your metals, with your plastics. They’re not dangerous for you to come into contact with if you’re, you know, using them. The label does say to wear gloves with them, but in this time, we don’t want you wasting a glove on using on your disinfectant. But there are some chemicals that are out there like bleach that I would really want you to use caution if that’s what you’re choosing to use. Make sure that you’re buying a disinfecting bleach. Not all bleach disinfects, which may be shocking to some people.  In fact, out of the whole Clorox family of bleaches, anything that is scented, or anything that is splashless, does not disinfect. It says it right on the label, not for sanitation or disinfection. To sanitize or disinfect, use Clorox disinfecting bleach. So the bleach, I call the pool boy, the one that completely smells of chlorine and absolutely nothing else, is the only one that disinfects. For all your disinfectants, you’re always going to mix water and then you’re buying every disinfectant almost as a concentrate. Whether you’re buying Barbicide or you’re buying bleach, you have to mix it with water. Nothing else. You never mix these chemicals with anything but water. And when you use them, use them cautiously. Bleach, I want to remind everybody, should not be mixed with hot water. Because hot water causes bleach to separate and it doesn’t do as good of a job at disinfecting. So if you’re trying to disinfect, bleach and cold water is really what does the best job. All of the disinfectants, when you go to use them, the surface you’re putting them on should be cleaned first. So that mechanical process I talked about, which is maybe wiping down a counter with a wipe, or even with a wet washcloth. You’re just getting all that stuff off the surface, and then you’re going to either spray a disinfectant, use a wipe. If you have implements, you might be immersing them in the disinfectant and it’s always going to be for whatever the contact time is in the label. And that contact time is important because the contact time for Barbicide, it’s 10 minutes for all of our products, except for our wipes, which are two minutes. And the contact time is how long it takes that chemical to kill everything on the label. So if you want to kill everything on the label, and right now, I’m pretty sure you do, you leave your counter saturated for 10 minutes. You leave your implements immersed for full 10 minutes. You use the wipe for a full two minutes, and you make sure that that counter top doesn’t dry in those two minutes, and you can feel safe that all of the things you’re worried about, including human coronavirus, have been killed.

JAIME: With wipes, they seem so convenient and yet I don’t think any of us think that the contact time makes as much difference. And obviously it does because when we’re wiping, we’re doing it quickly and that’s why we’re using the wipe because it is quick, but two minutes is a long time.

LESLIE: It is. Two minutes is a very long time when you’re standing there looking at the clock.    One of the biggest complaints we get in our company, which is interesting, is we get the complaint that our wipes are too wet. They’re too drippy That people are trying to pull them out of the container and they’re dripping everywhere. Well, there’s a reason for that because we want you to be able to saturate that surface and let it be visibly wet for a full two minutes. So, yep. Two minutes is a long time. If you’re using Clorox wipes, that’s four minutes with a Clorox wipe. Read the label. Know that they’re not all the same across the board and know how to use your product properly.

JAIME: You mentioned wearing gloves before. Can you speak more to wearing gloves when we’re handling these types of products and when we’re working with clients?

LESLIE: One thing I would say about gloves, they’re in a very short supply right now. If you have them, you know, I don’t want you to use them so much that you’re burning through them. I want you to think about all of this. I want everyone to start thinking more and be more cognizant of how we’re using the resources. I’ve told people as disinfectant gets harder and harder to find, one option you could have is to mix Barbicide into a spray bottle, and that does not have to be changed daily, like the immersion does, for example, because you’re not sticking anything in your spray bottle to contaminate it, and it’s a closed container. I have been suggesting to people that’s a good way to be a good steward of what might become a very tight supply. Same thing with gloves. So as gloves become more difficult to find, medical people, first responders are going to be buying up all the stock, and quite frankly, they probably have a higher risk than all of the rest of us. So think before you use them. When you do use a glove, remember the glove does not take away the fact that you touch something. So if you have a glove on, and you touch a surface that has a living pathogen on it, a virus, and you still touch your face, meaning eyes, nose, or mouth, you have perhaps contaminated yourself with something you might not want to get. Gloves are not to be used as a replacement for hand washing when that’s necessary. Look, social distancing is the thing today, and in the nail market and any cosmetology field, social distancing is next to impossible. I think you would be well advised, if you’re trying to stay open during this time, to ask clients a little bit about maybe where they’ve been. Understand a little bit cause you’re putting yourself at risk now too, not just your client. A lot of what we talk about and  in infection control in this industry is how to protect consumers. But at this point, we’re also trying to protect you as the person. And actually to be honest, you’re more at risk than your client is right now, because if you see even five clients a day, that’s five exposures you’re having. They’re only being  exposed to you. Obviously, if I’m the fifth person in the day, I got exposed to all your other people as well. So trying to ask people a few questions, have they traveled? Have they been self-quarantining? Have they been not paying attention to it? I think you’re going to have to make some hard decisions on whether you provide services based on that, but gloves could be a barrier for you, and it’s something I would consider using if I were doing it. But keep in mind, the respiratory piece of it. So maybe wearing gloves and a mask is not a bad idea if you’re trying to do nail services during this time. One last thing about gloves is that you never want to use a glove that is made of a petroleum product, if you are using it with petroleum products, and it causes little tiny holes to develop, microscopic holes you can’t see, and things could get through it. Keep in mind that some of the lotions and probably the salt scrub thingys, the media that they’re mixed in, could be petroleum based, and so if you’re wearing petroleum based gloves that could be a problem.

JAIME: Leslie, what’s the number one way that liquid disinfectants are misused in a salon setting?

LESLIE: Well, there’s a lot of ways. First off, they are not properly mixed. If you are trying right now to skimp on your disinfectant, this would not be the time to do it. If you are not properly concentrating your disinfectant, and that is measuring. So in Barbicide world, it’s a quarter of a cup and four cups of water. If you are going under that, then you are not making a strong enough disinfectant and you’re putting yourself and everybody at risk. If you’re going over that, you’re over concentrating it and it can’t do any more than it can do. It’s not a more is better situation. Not properly concentrating is a big miss. Trying to use it on soft surfaces. Well, I know you want to put it on your chairs and places like that to make your customer feel better. Soft surfaces are not disinfectable, so to speak, because they are porous. The best you may be able to do in a chair situation, for example, is to create a barrier. Putting a towel over the back of a chair, or over an armrest on a chair, or where someone’s going to sit, and then taking all those towels and laundering them after each client. That may make your client feel better. It may actually provide enough of a barrier that people don’t feel uncomfortable. Every disinfectant you’re gonna use if you’re spraying it on the material that most of the chairs are made of in this industry. It’s a fake leather, if you will. All the disinfectants you’re gonna use, if they’re strong enough to kill anything, they’re going to ruin that material. Remembering what it’s made for. It’s made for hard nonporous surfaces. I would be cautious with spraying disinfectants that are labeled as corrosive. So bleaches, tuberculocidal disinfectants, try to keep spraying of those to a minimum. Those really shouldn’t be made into aerosols that people are breathing in, but your quaternary ammonias, those would be okay to be sprayed.

JAIME: And we’re not judging the concentration on the color of the liquid once you’ve mixed it?

LESLIE: No. You guys are all really good with color. You’re very creative people. I’m a science person. I like measuring things but, this is a time where we need to be measuring. It is a time where we need. You know, look. If you are over concentrating it cause it makes you feel good, remember, we keep churning Barbicide out. Our plants are running 24/7, but we might run out of containers. That might be the first thing we run out of is containers to put it in. If you have it, use it wisely, concentrate it properly and use it wisely.

JAIME: Leslie, what’s the best way to dispose of a disinfectant?

LESLIE: There are actually no states, that I’m aware of, that dictate how it is disposed of. There may be a few municipalities, localities, but I, it would be very few and far between that dictate how to dispose of it other than it going down the drain. It’s been poured down the drain forever. Do I think that eventually we’ll have some guidelines on that that are different? That may be the case, but right now just goes down the drain.

JAIME: How could liquid disinfectants give people some peace of mind during a pandemic like this?

LESLIE: Well, the thing is, there’s a lot of things we don’t know about this virus, even people like me who live and breathe it. I’ve been trying to tell people this is gonna happen. Even for people like me, it’s sort of like having an invisible enemy. We’d all like to see the enemy, so we have some way to fight it, and this is an invisible enemy. But this is the one thing we have that we do know works. Using a disinfectant and doing it properly, self quarantining. Staying inside if you don’t need to go out, don’t go out. Limiting any interaction with other people outside of your home. Trying to go to the grocery store once a week instead of every day. All of those things are our best guess at what’s going to work, but disinfectants, we know work. So, I feel really good about what we’re doing right now, and that is trying to get out as much as we can to as many people as we can.

JAIME: Are you concerned that some of these products might give consumers and clients and professionals a false sense of security as they may be using them improperly?

LESLIE: Yeah. If you’re using them properly, the surface that you’re working on will be disinfected, right? But one of the things I said at the very beginning of this, I cannot disinfect the human body. The human body is porous. It’s, it’s not intended to be disinfected. While I feel confident that if they’re using a disinfectant properly on a surface, that that surface will be safe, I cannot say the same thing about the human body and social distancing is really good quality advice and it is very much an impossibility in this industry. I don’t want anybody to get the false sense of security that if I disinfect all my surfaces and all my implements that I’m safe somehow because there’s no way for me to gauge who’s walking in your door or what you might’ve been exposed to. And I think one thing to consider is that when we talk about the vast number of people that have this, that have very mild symptoms or even none at all, asking people questions about, you know, screening people saying, do you have a fever? Look, we were being honest with you. Most people don’t get a fever with it, right? Some people do, but the vast majority of people have very, very mild symptoms. So, you know, this may be a time we’re considering closing for a week, getting all your ducks in a row to get opened again, and be safe, may be a good consideration.

JAIME: And I know we weren’t going to go into too much detail about that, but is there anything that we can be doing if we happen to be closed, through a government order, to prepare our salons for when we reopen? Should we be going to our spaces and cleaning things now or should we be waiting closer to a time when we know we can reopen?

LESLIE: As a manufacturer of disinfecting products in this industry, and just kind of speaking for all the manufacturers who are working night and day to get disinfecting product out, it’s a good question. If we can all just take a breather and stay home for a few days, if you are mandatorily closed that you can just take a breather, stay home with your family. It’s kind of a scary time and being with your family, it probably is the place you want to be and they probably want you there.   And then coming back, getting your shop prepared to reopen won’t take you as long as you think. And we want you to do it in a way that you feel comfortable coming back, that your employees feel comfortable coming back, and that most of all your clients feel comfortable coming back and getting your services. It is important to us that you come back and you do it safely, but that you do it in a time where I would hate to see people going out and buying all the disinfectant to disinfect shops that are going to be empty for the next two weeks when there are people that need it right now. We see, for example, Barbicide is being used in all kinds of industries right now where it wasn’t being used before. People are calling me from everything from car dealerships to veterinary clinics that are still open. I don’t know why car dealerships are open but, veterinary clinics and things like that where they’re trying to find anything. So if you have some already, you already own it, mixing it up properly and literally disinfecting every single surface that is hard and nonporous. And that includes things you might not normally disinfect: your reception desk, your point of sale equipment, the place where we all put in our pin number, or if that’s on a iPad where people have been signing and putting in pin numbers, all of those things properly disinfected. If you have magazines in your waiting area, throw them away. Start from scratch when people come back. Make sure all your linens are washed and thoroughly dried and put away in a closed cabinet. I mean, just literally go through like you were opening the shop brand new for the first time. If you’re doing pedicures, you scrub the bowl out and remove all of the removable parts and run the disinfectant through it for the full contact time. If it’s our product, it’s 10 minutes and disinfect all the things you removed while you’re doing that and then put them all back in. Some places are actually putting like a signage on it that says this has been fully disinfected. So they know when they come back, they know all of those things have been disinfected. All of those bowls have been fully, everything’s been removed and disinfected. We’ll be putting out some information and hopefully we’ll do another podcast here in a week or two about going back to your salons. How do we do it? Like, what do we do? What are the steps we should be taking? And our company will be working on providing some signage that you can put in your window saying that you have done all the things that you should be doing to reopen so your consumers feel safe. 

JAIME: When we’re not in the salon and we’re at home, for example, is your product something that we’d be using on our kitchen counters at home?

LESLIE: I’m in my own homeI use it. So I use Barbicide wipes, and I use Barbicide spray in my own home. It’s perfectly safe for that use. So, just use your head. What things can I clean and they’ll be safe? And that’s the best I can do, and what things do I really need to disinfect? And I think, being conscious of what you are doing is half the battle, but remember, everyone else isn’t conscious of that. 

JAIME: No, they’re not. I found that in this last week where our country had an order to shelter in place before the governor actually issued one just last night, I was at Costco shopping. I love Costco, but to watch people interact in that space was most interesting because certainly they control the number of people that were allowed into this space. And I think that may be one of the excuses that we’re hearing from those of us in the industry who are not ready to make that decision for themselves if they haven’t been ordered by their government to shut down. They’ll make the argument, well, I’m only seeing one person at a time. 

LESLIE: Well, I, I’m hopeful that that one person that you’re seeing is not somebody who is symptomless and now infecting you, and maybe you’ll be symptomless, but we all know somebody. Look, I say this every year in flu season, you know, 50,000 Americans die every year from the flu. They got it from somebody. Somebody gave it to them. So even if it’s not you that’s going to get sick and die, you likely know somebody that will, and that does make me also, I want to say this, people keep comparing this to the flu. It’s not just the flu. It is not just the flu. One of the benefits the flu has is the flu, if you’ve ever had it, makes you so sick so fast, you go right to bed, which means you are not out contaminating other people. This virus doesn’t make you that sick. For the vast majority of people, it feels like a cold. So they continue to go out and get on airplanes, and go to work, and do all the things that they would normally want to do because they feel okay and that includes coming to get a service done, getting their nails done or whatever that is, and they may actually be sick. They may be carrying something where with the flu, they’d never come in because they’d be in bed.

JAIME: If we weren’t dealing with this crisis now and we were just talking about a regular flu season, what would be your recommendation about getting a flu shot? Is there a perfect time to get it done?

LESLIE: So I’m a big fan of vaccinations, and I have spent a lot of time studying vaccinations, and so I’m glad we’re doing this without an audience cause I usually get arguments when I talk about them. But I think this virus will make us all more aware of the benefits of immunization. That immunizations are not some plot by the government. They’re not  some plot by big pharma. They are intended to do the right thing for the herd. You know, it’s called herd immunity, and it is, if we can get most people immunized against something, then the people who cannot get immunized, they have problems with their immune system or they’re infants or they’re toddlers under the age of 18 months, or they’re people undergoing chemotherapy. Those people that cannot get immunized would be protected because the rest of us wouldn’t be able to give it to them. So the flu vaccine, which I highly recommend in this industry, because of how you touch other people, it’s kind of unprecedented, in any other career field other than healthcare, how much you guys touch other humans that you don’t know, by the way. So I get my flu shot. I travel every single week. I’m on both coasts and everywhere in between, and I get my flu shot at the beginning of October. If it’s a particularly bad flu season, I have been known to get a second flu shot in January. In the 2017-2018 season, I get two flu shots just because I got mine so early in the season. It does take two weeks for the flu shot to work. So during those two weeks, if you were to get exposed to the flu, you still would get it, but it is advisable, I would say, depending on where you live, I would get it at your first opportunity, whether that’s middle to late October or the beginning of November. It’s never too late to get one. We still see cases of the flu that crop up in February and March. There’s still some flu out there depending on where you live. But know that the, the flu shot is, even if it doesn’t work for you, if it’s not the right mix for you, so to speak, and you get the flu, you’ll be less symptomatic and you’ll be back to work sooner if you were immunized.

JAIME: Conspiracy theories aside, do most people avoid getting a flu shot because they think doing so will make them sick automatically?

LESLIE: Yes. That is exactly why people tell me they do it. And one of the things that I always tell people when we talk about immunizations is that the thing that people describe to me is, I’ve got the flu shot and then I got sick. And what I say to people is, when you go to get a shot or you take your children to get a shot, what is the first thing the nurse asks you before we give you a shot? I know it from being a nurse. The thing we always ask you is, have you been sick? Have you had a cough? Have you had a sore throat? Have you had the sniffles? We’re not asking that for our own health and our own goodness. We’re asking you because, if your immune system has been working effectively to try to battle, let’s say, a cold, that you’ve been exposed to or something like that, your immune system’s working, working, working, trying to fix that. And it’s so far working pretty well, right? It’s keeping that thing at bay. You’re not sick, really sick yet. You’ve just got a little sniffle or whatever, and now I give you an immunization that overwhelms your immune system. It’s like all the lights and bells and whistles are going off. Your immune system’s like, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, I gotta get to work making immunoglobulin against whatever. You have really taken away your immune system’s ability to fight the thing it was fighting cause now it’s got a bigger fight. It’s got to make all those antibodies that that vaccine is requiring it to do. So we never want to give you a shot if you even have a simple cold or you have the sniffles because we know it’s going to exacerbate that problem that your immune system might have been keeping at bay. You want to get immunizations when you’re feeling well, and that means not even a sniffle.

JAIME: I like your optimism and I know that we need help. Your husband works in mental health. What can you share from his experiences that would help us particularly when we feel anxious, uncertain, scared, frustrated, angry? I mean so many different emotions because not only are we afraid for ourselves physically but we’re afraid for our financial lives, and how do we survive?

LESLIE: So you know, my husband and I, like I said, we walk our dogs every morning and we have a lot of conversations and he’s getting a lot of clients that are calling and are just really panicked. They don’t know what they’re going to do. They’re afraid, and it, it, they’re being inundated with it. And I do know that one of the things we talk about is only allowing yourself so much input, right? Say to yourself, if you’re really experiencing a lot of stress, say I’m only going to give myself one hour a day to watch the news and worry about it, or one hour a day to look on my Facebook page where that’s all I can see is all the terrifying news. You know we live in an environment today where we have opportunities to watch things like Netflix or I play words with friends with all my kids and all of their spouses because it gives me something to do. It’s a way of communicating with other people that are not feeling so secure right now, right? So we, we’re doing things, we’re FaceTiming other people. We’re taking the opportunity. I, I have a couple people in my life who live by themselves, and I think, at least I have my family in my house. If I was alone, this would feel so much more scary. Reaching out to people, and, and being honest with people when you’re afraid, because the reality is that everybody else is too. And even people that don’t seem afraid, in their heart of hearts, they are afraid and they understand what, you know, they can understand you and they can hear you, what you’re going through. And last but not least, if you feel like you need help, there is mental health care out there. My husband is working with people on payments and their insurance won’t let them do it by phone and they’re too afraid to come in, he’s working with them. I think everybody wants to make sure everybody gets through this healthy in a physical, but also in a mental and spiritual way. 

JAIME: As the government makes decisions about what the citizens should be doing as communities, we see that at times a city will act or a county will act or a state will act. And now that both California and New York have enacted essentially a shelter in place, that’s one in five of every American that’s affected by that order, so the impact is significant and we need to hear this message more than ever. You’re having a moment. 

LESLIE: Yeah. Well, you know, I keep saying to everybody, I understand how terrifying this is. Don’t think I don’t get it cause I actually do. I have children that work in industries that are being widely affected by this. So I get what the panic is. I want to remind everyone that, look, this will come back. Actually, I should have told you, my very first degree in college was in economics but, this will come back. We will. If this is not the great depression. Back in 1929, it took an entire day to make something that we can now make in a factory in 10 minutes. We couldn’t get online and buy something and support a business. We couldn’t let our friends know that, hey, this new restaurant that we wanted to go to is now open again. Or, this experience we wanted to have. This isn’t the 20s. Things have changed significantly. And when it comes back, it will come back strong. I already think, I miss going to dinner with my friends. My husband and I used to go on a Saturday and watch college basketball at a local bar by us and eat bad food and watch basketball. I miss those things and I think everybody else does. I miss getting a pedicure. I miss getting my nails done. So all of those things will come back. The more we can be vigilant today, the faster that will happen. Sometimes that’s hard, you know, but the more vigilant we can be about sheltering in place or social distancing today, the faster people will get back to some new normal whatever that is. But I think all of your businesses, there will be customers. There will be people that want life to feel like it did before. To not operate out of panic, but to operate out of a little bit of patience, a little bit of, sort of self-centering, using this time to do things in your life that are going to make you feel like your life is in order at home, so that when you go back to work you don’t feel so scattered, and you feel like you can really devote your time to what you need to do to get your business back up and running. 

JAIME: Leslie, thank you so much. This has been a really informative explanation of where you see this industry needs to focus and you’ve also given us great tips for consumers because ultimately, though we are in the beauty profession, we’re consumers as well. So we’re having to shop and do things to make sure that we’re sustaining ourselves while we might be taking a hiatus from our work working directly with clients. 

LESLIE: Well, thank you so much for having me and, if we want to do this again in a couple of weeks and talk about going back into the salon, I’m happy to do it.  

ASHLEY: Thank you, Leslie, for all of this fantastic information. I think this is just part one. We definitely need Leslie back for round two.

JAIME: Yes. We’re already planning a followup. In the meanwhile, please subscribe, rate, and review Outgrowth on your favorite podcast platform. It helps us reach more listeners like you.

ASHLEY: Okay, everybody, until next time.

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