When Illness is All Around You...

I am currently in the throes of my February ick - something I get every year at this time, something undefined and vague, but something that happens in February every single year. I went to the doctor last week and had a flu test (because that bug has descended upon my primary workspace) which came back negative (after starting a nosebleed that lasted for about 25 minutes). My clients have a combination of influenza and/or strep, and I'm actually thankful for my own kind of ick because a)no one has the same symptoms as me AT ALL, and b)this ick seems to protect me from the other forms of ick going around.

Now, here's where I stress the idea of using universal precautions.

The idea of universal precautions means that you treat the bodily fluids of every single person as possible sources of germs...which they are...and treat them the same way all the time. Hand washing, disinfecting surfaces and instruments, and wearing gloves when needed are basic ideas and tenets to this concept of universal precautions. I think every clinic/music therapy storage area/therapist's bag should include soap and water (for non-porous instruments), disinfecting wipes, a small first aid kit, and gloves. It should become routine to wipe down things that clients and therapists have used at the end of every session.

...but, I don't do that.

I don't often have time to sit down and wipe down every shaker egg, rhythm stick, and jingle bell set that we used after every session. My sessions are often back to back and there is no time to do that. I try to mitigate some of the germ contagion by using a different set of instruments, but I do eventually run out. Fortunately, since I work in one facility and do not have to take materials from place to place, all of us have been exposed to the same types of things so my room is not the center of all contagion. At this point, most of us are wondering why some of us HAVEN'T come down with stuff rather than how to contain it. We are past the containment stage.

I am very thankful, and ESPECIALLY in times like these, that I am clinic-based. I cannot imagine what would happen if I were traveling from one place to another. I would want to disinfect myself every single time I left one place to go to another. I would want to take lots of showers and change clothing and disinfect everything.

Now, I am not a germ-o-phobe. I do not live in fear of germs - they are part of being human - but I also see wisdom in limiting the range of germs as much as possible. There are always gloves, wipes, and soap and water in my clinical areas. They stay in the same place - the green drawer of the easel apparatus - and are always available when needed. We are going to spend some of our day today vacuuming the carpet, swiffering the floors with Clorox wipes, and wiping down all of the props, materials, and instruments that we've used in the past two days. Just in case.

Stay healthy, friends!


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