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Sunday, October 2, 2022

A Letter to the Community From a Local, Obsessive Germaphobe

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By Kansas Hunt, RN, IPCO (Infection Preventionist and Control Officer) at Waldron Nursing Center, Inc.

Although I admire all effort put forth in the community related to slowing the spread of COVID-19, I feel like many are missing key points. Therefore, I feel obligated to redirect.

Yes, they are encouraging people to stay home. Less social interaction will result in less spread. However, this is not mandated. It is known that people will have to make trips to the store for food and other household necessities to survive. That is why they are encouraging you to first and foremost maintain a 6-foot distance from other that you are not already exposed to (people who live with you are fine.) This distance recommendation is because when we speak, certain movements that are made to form words (th, sh) produce droplets…spit. These droplets can land on a person’s face, which they might later touch and then touch a mucous membrane (eyes, nose, mouth) allowing the virus to invade and possibly infect.

It is true that the only masks effective at keeping airborne participles of this virus out when worn are N95s. That is why they are reserved for healthcare workers who are taking care of people who are known or suspected to have COVID-19. This is absolutely the way it should be. The CDC has approved basic surgical masks for healthcare workers who are caring for a patient who is known or suspected so long as they are not receiving an aerosol producing procedure. These procedures can include breathing treatments, oxygen suctioning, intubation, BIPAP, or CPAP. This is because those procedures can cause the virus particles to become airborne (aerosolized.) In these cases, eye protection is also required. Otherwise, a surgical mask is effective.

Basic surgical masks are effective at keeping germs in. That is why the public has been encouraged to wear them when they go out. If you are sick and don’t know it yet, you could spread it to others through close conversation. If you have a cough, your droplets are contained in your mask, protecting those around you. They are also encouraged because having something over your face is better than nothing right? Please remember to wash your homemade masks daily after use.

Moving on to gloves. Oh, my goodness y’all. Gloves give you a false sense of security. That’s it. Hard truth. Gloves are worn to protect you when touching something that might be contaminated. However, say what you touch is contaminated, then what? What you touch next? Your phone? Your face? Your keys? Your steering wheel? Your cash register? The next customer’s bananas? Congratulations! Now, when you remove the gloves and wash or germ-x your hands, then touch your phone, guess what? The gloves are pointless. Unless you change your gloves after touching each possibly contaminated object, YOU ARE SPREADING MORE GERMS!! And to who? The little elderly lady in line who is now going home to eat one of those bananas? Think about it, please.

Lastly, hand hygiene. Y’all, I am so proud that hand washing and sanitizing is now a thing. But it’s not how often you do it, it’s when. Again, this should be done after touching something dirty and before you touch your phone, keys, food, face, etc. Rubbing down with germ-x every five minutes while you’re out in public, but touching the cart and then rubbing your eye is just wasting precious germ-x.

So, wear a mask if you want, stay 6 feet away from those not in your household, and wash your hands or sanitize before you touch your face and you should be fine.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you have. I will be glad to help in any way I can. My goal is to keep our residents, employees, and community healthy!

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Tammy Teague
Tammy is the heart behind the brand. Her tenacity to curate authentic journalism, supported by a genuine heart is one her many wholesome qualities.
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