Sunday, July 29, 2012

Touch me Not

This post is going to be useful to you if you're a medical student. But every one must know this as it is going to help you protect yourselves when you make a visit to an hospital. (either when you are sick or when visiting a sick friend)

You'll be knowing that disease causing microorganisms are present everywhere. More in dirty places but even the cleanest of places contain bacteria, viruses and other microbes in some quantities. The hospital is one of the places where these disease causing microbes are present in large numbers. And there's a difference!! These microbes are way too dangerous compared to the microbes present elsewhere. They are more virulent (have the ability to cause disease) and are drug resistant (the available medications don't work well in treating them).

Those people working in hospitals may have some immunity against them. But still they may fall prey anytime or they may be carrying microbes home and infecting their family members. 

So where are the disease causing drug resistant lethal microorganisms present in the hospital??
Everywhere. Even the places where you least expect them.

What you don't see.

So here are some simple tips to keep yourself safe (both for medical personnel & laypeople visiting hospitals please take note)

  • Do not touch the hand railing of the staircase in the hospital. Some of us tend to touch the hand railing even though we need no extra support. It's just a subconscious habit. The hand rails are used by the numerous patients in the hospital. So huge number of microbes are constantly deposited there. And by touching them we help in the transport of microbes.
  • Do not lean on any wall/the lift cabin.
  • When you press the lift call button, use some object other than your finger (preferable to wait for someone else to push it :p :)) 
  • If you happen to wet your hands, do not use any towel provided by the hospital (those near wash-basins)
  • Do not touch the patient bed railings
  • Wash your hands with soap and running water for 2 complete minutes after coming into contact with any patient. Hand-washing is superior to rub-on disinfectants.
  • Wash your apron separately. Use dettol along with the detergent. Preferable to use hot water.
  • Remove your apron before you enter you house and leave it separately. Don't let family members come into contact with the apron. Take a bath every evening when you return home.
These are just some simple suggestions. The idea is that don't unnecessarily come into contact with objects which are handled by many people in the hospital (mainly when they are used by the patients).

Being a medical student makes you responsible for protecting yourself from these infections and also prevent the innocent people @ home getting infected with notorious bugs.

Please do not take this lightly. Many of my friends have suffered from Tuberculosis, Enteric fever, HBV etc. And further, when people at your home fall sick, you won't have an idea that it was due to the microbial load that you carried home.

Take care!
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