Pay attention to the details and save a life.
A healthcare professional who is obsessively clean may just save your or your loved one’s life!
Being meticulously clean can make a big difference between life and death.
One of The Caregiver’s Voice readers writes:
I read an article about caregiving services for seniors and wanted to know if there are acceptable standards of care. For example, I learned of a situation where a person who supervises caregivers for the elderly, permitted a coughing and sneezing caregiver to help an elderly client. The client ended up with pneumonia and it made me wonder who sets the standards. Please advise.
The reader’s email reminded me of a dear friend who lost his life to T-cell lymphoma.
While being treated at a reputable cancer treatment center, he contracted MRSA–the flesh-eating infectious bacterial disease (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus). I still believe he caught MRSA at this cancer treatment center. He disagreed with me. After all, it is a leading cancer treatment center!
If we want to live, we can’t depend solely on stellar reputations. Reality is often different if we look closely enough.
It hurt me to see him suffer with this flesh-eating disease. It was awful watching what he and his wife had to go through to clean the open sores on his legs and feet while he battled for his life with lymphoma.
Here’s an edited version of what I wrote to the reader:
This is a real problem, not only among caregivers, but also in all facets of life. When you visit the doctor’s office and the receptionist hands you a pen to sign a document while she’s sniffling and coughing, illness spreads. When a restaurant server covers a sneeze with the palm of his hand as he takes your order and then serves your meal, he helps spread illness.
Who is brave enough to say something? Few are. Until more of us do, these unintentional behaviors that contribute to the spread of disease and illness will continue.
What I’ve observed
Particles of mist in the air
As a child, I was fascinated by the dust particles suspended in a room among the sun’s rays. Could we ever get rid of them all, I wondered. I actually tried to vacuum them once, but the old Electrolux canister vacuum wasn’t up to the task.
A decade ago, I was surprised to see what happens while friends enjoy lively conversation and laughter. The setting sun shone brightly upon the misty particles of our breath as they gently fell upon our meal that evening.
It became very clear to me how easily we could spread germs, even over a good conversation!
Medical personnel who don’t wash their hands between patients
A few years earlier, I had an appointment with a neurologist from India.
Oftentimes, doctors will wash their hands after entering the room. I asked him to wash his hands. He said he did. I reminded him that he had just seen another patient. He hesitated and then admitted, “Oh, yes… uh, I will wash my hands in front of you, so you can see they are clean.”
Given his attitude, I wondered why every examination room includes a sink?
This brings me back to my friend who died from complications of lymphoma and MRSA.
While visiting him in a quarantined area of the hospital, visitors and medical staff were required to wear full garb with facial protection and use sanitizer. Yet, I noticed great variances in what the four nurses and doctors did when entering and leaving the room. Only one took all the precautions. Another took none.
This is how disease spreads in hospitals and other care facilities–when people don’t take precautions.
Today, with a population of seven billion worldwide, we have twice the number of people than we did forty-five years ago when I was a child. Also, people didn’t travel internationally as often as we do today. This kept diseases and illnesses contained compared to today.
We owe it to ourselves to be obsessively compulsive with cleanliness for good health and even survival. There’s no reason for the spread of these diseases like MRSA, given the advances in medicine, today.
Six TIPS to Prevent Sickness
Here are six tips to help us remain healthy through any flu or cold season and beyond.
- If you sneeze or cough due to allergies, a cold or dust, HAVE and USE FACIAL TISSUES. Toss after each use. Or, if you use a handkerchief, wash with bleach.
- If you’re in the habit of exhaling with a SIGH, turn away from the person you’re with.
- Wash your hands before handling food. Wash your hands after handling store bought packages. Who else handled them at the store?
- Doctors and other medical personnel, wash your hands between patients.
- After washing your hands in a public restroom, don’t tap your hands along the front edge of the sink.
- Don’t pick your nose. Germs under your fingernails will travel quickly along your nasal passages and you’ll find yourself fighting a cold.
These may seem obsessive but consider how miserable you’ll feel with a cold, the flu, or worse!