Staying Healthy When Visiting Hospitals

Having spent a lot of time visiting my Mom in health care facilities this past month and no flu shot,  I’m always trying my best to avoid catching something.  Let’s face it, even the cleanest facilities are one big ventilated petri dish. 
I choose to wear a mask because there is seasonal flu in the building and I do not get the flu shot.  I also have ms and the last thing I need is to pick up the flu or something else that will send me into a downward spiral.

I know a lot of people feel the way I do in that any mask is better than no mask.  The problem is, the generic flu masks aren’t fitted and probably…(that’s what they say) won’t prevent the current virus COVID-19.  They’re really for people who may be sick to wear so they don’t spread it. (That’s what they say).
To help prevent COVID-19 it’s said the proper mask is the N95.  That being said, the facility my Mom is at provides masks for all visitors.

Here are some things I do to try to avoid getting sick while visiting. 

Call ahead and inquire about any restrictions on visiting hours.  If a facility has suddenly changed their visiting hours, there’s a good chance that the reason may be to prevent or control the spread of a virus.  This is the case where my Mom is.  I was notified yesterday that visiting hours are going to be restricted due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) now being in the community. 

Apply mask upon entering the facility. 

Gloves are always an option to reduce ordinary contaminants (and cross contamination which is rampant in health care facilities) and viruses.  

Carry your own pen to sign in.

Do not use your hand to press for the elevator. Instead use your elbow and again for the floor that you’re getting off.

Leave your phone in your purse/bag.  If you must take it out, be sure to clean/sanitize it before putting it back in your bag.  The current coronavirus COVID-19 lives on surfaces for days and our phones are often contaminated ordinarily.  Even better, don’t carry a bag or phone. 

When washing your hands, turn the water on and apply soap.  Wash for at least twenty seconds, dry your hands and use the paper towel to turn off the water.  Do not touch the faucet after washing. 

If you’re doing your loved ones laundry, put gloves on (if you  haven’t already) to put dirty clothes in plastic bags.  Think about it, the health care worker who put the dirty clothes in the bag had dirty gloves on.  When taking off the gloves, pinch glove up to remove with gloved hand and make sure to pull off remaining glove from the inside without touching the outside and wash/sanitize.  Next apply clean gloves to take the mask off by the straps and dispose of properly.  Again, wash/sanitize your hands. If you’re not going to do the laundry immediately, leave it in the car.  

As someone who worked in health care and as a relative who visits, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen cross contamination.  Assume everything is contaminated when visiting hospitals and health care facilities. 

Constantly being on the go and worrying about a hospitalized loved one can weaken our immune system so make sure to take care of you.

Thanks for reading.
Stay well.

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