At part time work, I hang out in the ER, see patients as they come in, and help with triage as time allows. The last time I was there there was a worrying trend.
"Hello, how can we help you?"
"Yeah, I was at my doctors' yesterday and I was diagnosed with the flu and I just don't feel better so I came in to get seen."
"Whoa. Let me stop you right there. If you wouldn't mind, could you put on one of those yellow masks there? Yep. Just like that. Thanks."
I know the flu sucks. You are not going to feel well. You will not be healed overnight. It can take a healthy person a good week to fight off the flu. The people I saw coming into the ER with the flu were not old or young or immunocompromised. They were between 25-35 and just didn't suffer well. Please stop coming into the ER and spreading your germs. No offense meant. Also, don't come to work, go to wal-mart, or Applebees. Please. That being said, the flu can be serious and lead to dehydration and pneumonia. Know thyself.
It is this time of year that I get even more obsessed with cleaning my supplies and my rig. I love caviwipes. Love them. And when you think about the surfaces you touch in an ambulance, they really add up. From door handles to radio mics. From the handle of my monitor to outside of the glucometer. It all gets cleaned. It is as much our responsibility to prevent the spread of illnesses as it is to help those already suffering.
I am fastidious about handwashing and in fact in the course of writing this, I've purelled twice. I've also masked maybe 80% of my patients in the last month. I've seen that people with the flu feel so crappy that they can't cover their cough. It's just a fact. And it earns you a mask in my rig.
Sorry this post has turned a bit bitchy. The flu worries me. That's all.