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  • Writer's pictureJohn Larrimer

How Can I Avoid Germs at Work?

The Columbus Dispatch recently interviewed employees who are often exposed to germs at work that can lead to illness, asking them how they try to avoid coming into contact with bacteria.

One hospital custodian told the newspaper that he uses gloves, sanitizer, soap and water. Cemerite “Ceme” Fleurival of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital said that he is aware that he can be exposed to germs through the hospital and that he is proactive.

“People are coming in, they’re coughing. Some people come in and they’ve got the flu,” Fleurival said. Because of this, when he is cleaning, he sanitizes rooms heavily, always using gloves—after which, he washes his hands.

“You protect yourself first. Do what you have to do. Sometimes, we’ve got to wear a gown. Some rooms, you have to wear a mask,” Fleurival said, according to the Dispatch.

Dr. Chad Braun, physician at Mount Carmel St. Ann’s Family Medicine, said he sanitizes his hands five to 10 times per hour while seeing patients. He also said that he has never skipped a flu shot since an illness left him unable to work during his first year of medical school.

“I consciously avoid touching my eyes, nose and mouth when I’m around someone that’s sick,” Dr Braun noted.

Teachers are also exposed to germs at work. Krista Diddle, a first-grade teacher at New Albany K-1 Elementary School, said she got strep the first couple of years she taught. She also received a kidney transplant several years ago, which she must account for, because she has to take a pill to suppress her immune system so her body does not reject the organ.

She joked that her doctors asked if she could go into another profession. “The No. 1 thing about staying healthy is washing your hands,” Diddle said, according to the Dispatch. “I teach it to my kids; we practice it; there’s even a song about it.”

The Dispatch also talked to Tim LeRoy, the equipment manager for the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. He said the team uses industrial-strength cleaners to wash player gear and that workers fumigate locker rooms before road trips.

“We bomb it probably six, seven times a season, just as a precaution,” LeRoy said, according to the Dispatch. “We’ve got between 21 and 25 guys pretty much all season, and it’s close quarters.”

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