Saturday, September 19, 2009

Magical X-rays Make For A Huge Swine Flu Season.

Despite the lack of another knee-jerk reaction towards an pandemic of the Swine flu, this flu season will most likely be huge due to the lack of education or most likely, the lack of applying education. Patients in our facility refuse to wear blue masks.

I work in a hospital where daily I'm seeing Mexicans carrying masks. Not wearing, carrying them. All day long these miracle masks help prevent the spread of the H1N1 (Swine Flu) virus. I see them tucked in back jean pockets, top shirt pockets and small children chasing their masks around waiting rooms. Kids like to pretend they are mini parachutes. The parents nearby totally oblivious to the problem.

As offended as many may be by this comment, it is just a fact that I only see dark skinned immigrant appearing people walking around with masks. Sure I'll occasionally see a white person (who knows, could be German or Australian) wearing a mask (yes, actually wearing). But those individuals are clearly patients currently under chemotherapy.

Two recent incidents in my department. I took their Chest X-ray and after excusing them from the exam room, the patient proceeded to remove their mask as they walked out the door and to return back to their doctor's office. Another removed her mask in order for her to cough outside of her mask. Nice.

We've had numerous deaths in our hospital due to the Swine flu. Even pregnant women have been delivering babies who have confirmed Swine flu already. As much as I hate to say it, they are mostly Mexican or Hispanic.

In addition to not wearing their masks, they also do not cover their mouths when they cough. But that's not just a Mexican issue, it's apparent with all races. I've never seen so many people walking around, adults mind you, coughing straight into the air, no head turned to the ground, no cough into the shoulder, not even a hesitated raise of the hands as if to not catch the cough in time. I find myself holding my breath after "drafting" behind some patient in the halls only to have them cough full force straight ahead of them.

Try this experiment sometime; around 2 hours until sundown, sit across from somebody who's back is turned towards sunlight. In just normal conversation, you can see fine mist droplets flying from the person's mouth 4 feet across from you. A cough or sneeze carries those droplets at least 2-3 times further than the normal speaking distance.

None of these people are going to change, nobody is going to stop them and we will end up having the biggest flu season anyone has seen in awhile. Nothing will be done until numerous people will begin to die in the thousands. Nothing preventative outside of this year's flu shot is currently being done to prevent this from becoming a bigger problem.

I'm not sure what the problem is. Is it staff that do not speak Spanish in order to inform the patient not to remove the mask while in the facility and just merely hand them the mask without instruction? Or is this just pure ignorance as to how the mask provides a barrier for the spread of germs and spores.

Who knew covering your cough, limiting yourself around crowds, and washing your hands frequently could be so difficult to follow.

1 comment:

brian said...

You mean the masks don't work in your back pocket??