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COTA Thoughts

Hygiene in the Clinic

Published March 5, 2013 7:08 PM by Tim Banish
 At work today another staff member cautioned me to wash my hands often, as there seemed to be a bug in the building. Back in school I remember the importance that was stressed with proper hand washing techniques, before and after treatment with each patient, before and after eating, and after any ADL's. As a teacher I remember teaching the proper hand washing technique to my students.


I am one who will find a place to wash my hands as often as needed. However in some clinics there is not a sink handy, so what do you do? Waterless hand cleaner can work in some cases, but even then it is still recommended to wash with soap and water after two or three uses.


The next day found me in a different facility, and the same message. All activities and the main dining room were shut down to help prevent the spread of the bug going around. Again I was washing hands as often as needed, sometimes more.


This was a Friday. About 10 PM that night I had to rush to the bathroom, sick. This went on for most of the night, and I thought sure it was something I ate. I spent all day the next day in bed, and most of the next day too, drained of energy. Arriving at work Monday morning the same co-worker who spoke up first looked at me and immediately said "You had it over the weekend too, didn't you?" Two other staff reported the same symptoms I experienced and said that was the same as infected residents were having. So I caught the bug anyway despite all the hand washing precautions.


Does that mean proper hand washing techniques are wasted effort? My thought is No; frequent hand washing will still help minimize the spread of the germs from patient to patient.  Sometimes you are just bound to catch it anyway, especially after repeated exposure to the bug.


Until next time, hope all your "Thoughts" are Good-



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