What is Hand Foot and Mouth?
Hand Foot and Mouth is a highly contagious infection caused by the coxsackievirus.
The biggest culprit?……Unwashed hands! Our hands are the most common part of the body to spread germs. That is why is it critical that we wash our hands routinely throughout the day, and especially after we use the bathroom. The fact that Hand Foot and Mouth comes from bacteria in the feces proves that proper “cleaning up” is being overlooked.
Am I Allowing Hand Foot and Mouth Disease to Spread In my Practice?
A Doctors office can be a high risk for spreading germs simply because of the number of illnesses that are passed through the area. First, we must consider all the surfaces that are vulnerable. Doorknobs are used by everyone and can easily spread a germ. Floors are a catch-all as there is no way of knowing what is being tracked in. Many Medical Offices have a coffee maker and possibly a few edible favors. This is a haven for germs and probably not a very good idea. If your hand sanitizer is not a hands-free canister, then it’s defeating its purpose!
How Do We Resolve This Problem?
Clean! Clean! Clean! This cannot be stressed enough. Awareness is key, so post reminders in the restrooms to clean down the facilities after use with provided wipes, and wash hands thoroughly. Highly visible notices in and around the waiting room warning patients of potential germ hot spots, encouraging patients to keep personal items off the floor, and providing masks for anyone who has a germ, or those who wish to wear one as a precaution.
Trash cans should be emptied regularly, and the pail cleaned before replacing the bag.
All exam room equipment should be cleaned down after each appt. Not just the exam table. Paper covers help but it is not sufficient. Tables must be wiped down as well. Do not forget the doorknobs!
Hand Foot and Mouth will walk in and make itself at home without an appointment!
Every Medical Office needs to have a Clean Schedule in place as well as a Maintenance Schedule for servicing the medical equipment.