Thursday, June 5, 2014

Hygiene

What is your hygiene routine like when you get home from work?

Usually the second I walk in the door, I wash my hands, even though I wash them right before I leave the hospital too. And I take my shoes off. But that's pretty much it. I always thought it was enough.

But recently, a coworker was telling me that the second she comes home, she strips down all her clothes that she was wearing that day and changes into something different. She's afraid of spreading MRSA to her household.

Is she overly paranoid? Or am I turning myself into a human petri dish?

20 comments:

  1. I have the same routine as you do. Unless I've been on call - in which case I damn near autoclave myself.

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  2. Yeah... same. Germophobes get sick more often.

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  3. I definitely wash my hands and usually I change my clothes, but only because I want to be more comfortable :)

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  4. I do the same as you. I know of people who keep two sets of dress clothes -- one for the hospital and one for other occasions -- because of their germophobia. That just seems excessive (and expensive!) to me.

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  5. change clothes for comfort, discourage kid and pets from touching the shoes I wear at work. I expect that we are all already colonized with MRSA already, so I don't stress about it too much.

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  6. At the office, or hospital, I work completely naked except for a pair of disposable flip-flops. When I get home I have a team waiting that immediately takes the car I used that day. I leave the flip-flops in the car. They take the car to have it melted down, then shipped to the US nuclear waste storage site in Idaho, and they bring me a new car for the next day. In front of my garage I have a special thermal unit I step into that incinerates the top layer of skin, and I then swim into the house through a microbicidal pool to get the ash off. This outfit gets me some weird looks when I have to take out my hospital ID or reflex hammer, but it's worth it to know I'm not bringing germs home.

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    1. That's a great routine Dr. Grumpy! When I work at certain farms, where there is concern for infectious disease coming in or out, to get either into or off of the farm I have to do a similar thing that involves stripping down completely, swimming through a vat of bleach solution, and then re-dressing in completely new clothes that are dropped onto a sterile tarp from a helicopter that hovers above the entrance just high enough to avoid stirring up dirt with the rotors. Pro-tip: make sure to apply some eye ointment before jumping into the vat - and keep your eyes closed for sure!

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    2. I just put my dirty clothes in my snoopy neighbors mailbox and hope for the best.

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    3. I love you, Dr Grumpy. Will you marry me?

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  7. I read somewhere, several years ago, about a dad who would play with their so-far-never-been-sick eight month old in his scrubs after he returned from work.

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    1. Sheesh. Who dresses their baby in scrubs?

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  8. I can understand a tech/nursing aide doing this as they are probably the hospital employee that has the most contact with patients, especially if they have to give them baths, change their beds, strip down rooms on discharge, help ambulate patients or boost them up in bed, and change diapers, empty foleys/colostomy bags/nephrostomy bags, etc. If they're spending the better part of a 12-hour shift constantly taking someone with raging c-diff diarrhea to the bathroom and having to wipe their ass or...if they're caring for someone with a history of MRSA in a wound that is open and oozing, and they're changing the chucks or sheets, then yeah I get the "strip down and shower" routine.

    But for others who are spending maybe 5-10 minutes tops in a patient room for consult? Probably overkill, unless you're totally getting all up in the site with the offending virus/bacteria/germ.

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  9. Hmmm. I do nothing special coming home from the hospital. We always take shoes off. I always wash hands before eating. When I get home in the evenings I call the dog, we go for a walk, I wash my hands when I get back inside because poop-scooping, and that's it. I change clothes only if I'm uncomfortable or wearing something nice.

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  10. Remove scrubs, shower & put on pajamas. I think my days as a floor nurse have scarred me forever.

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  11. Can't now, but when I volunteered at the local animal shelter, I would take shoes off before entering home and proceed directly to bathroom where I would shower and shampoo. The clothes I was wearing were placed in laundry basket and went into the wash after I got out of shower. I would scrub hands and forearms after coming up from laundry room.

    Excessive, but we had some pretty sick felines, and my cats did not get sick.

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  12. Wow. I guess, depending on your specialty, the habits may form in a variety of ways. When I worked retail pharmacy inside an upscale grocery store in a well-to-do suburb, we had one physician in particular who would come in to the store after work. We knew, from the scrubs, white coat and FOOTSIES that he was a physician and we knew from experience that he was from one of the local university hospitals. Perhaps he took them off upon returning to his house, but he apparently had no qualms about strolling through Starbucks, produce and dairy first......

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  13. I'm not an MD, yet. BUt When I work as a nursing assistant, I STRIP everything off at the door. I have a scrub basket of clothes just for my scrubs. I'm so very serious about it, and I have a mat for my shoes. This just started...typically, I just threw my scrubs in a pile- hell sometimes I recycled them if I was working again. I may do the same as an MD. Haha, we will see.

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    1. You STRIP everything off at the door, Trisha, I will oust you from my room faster than you can say inappropriate naked boobies. Hussy. Don't you know the hospital is full of ill people?

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  14. My wife, a RN, will change right when she walkes in the door if she has been in isolation rooms all day, but considering they are finding MDRO's in patients that have not in been in iso for weeks prior (she's at an inpatient rehab hospital), that it would probably be good practice to decon prior to coming in the house.

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  15. My wife's a critical-care surgeon. She will do the ditch-the-scrubs-first-thing sometimes--I think it depends a lot on who she's seen that day and what sort of nasty bugs they may have. And sometimes she does it just because she feels like ditching the scrubs.

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