Protecting patient from getting infections from me & others

Posted by raanderson @raanderson, Aug 25, 2019

As a caregiver I’m concerned about bringing germs home when my wife is discharged from the hospital. I regularly attend several public meetings per week where there may be from 20 to 100 people. How safe is this? Should I avoid public meetings?

Hi @raanderson, you may have noticed I moved your post to the Caregivers group so that you can connect with other caregivers.

Are you comfortable sharing what your wife's diagnosis is?

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Hi @raanderson
I have a compromised immune system due to Lymphoma treatments. My wife and I still go out publicly. We are very cognizant of where we go. In high traffic areas we keep our distance from others as best we can. We keep the hand sanitizer close by and use it often. (my wife’s motto is “wash your hands, wash your hands”) When we are at a venue where we feel more care is required like doctor or hospital appointments, as soon as we get home, we get a change of cloths, and wash our hands. In some cases, even take a shower. I feel that for care givers, it is important that you be able to do many of the things you did prior to the circumstances that brought you to the point of being a caregiver. I feel, though I am not an expert, you should be comfortable to take part in many of those meetings. I am happy to say in over a year, we have not brought an infection or bug home. (Be extra cautious in the up-coming flue season)

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@grandpabob

Hi @raanderson
I have a compromised immune system due to Lymphoma treatments. My wife and I still go out publicly. We are very cognizant of where we go. In high traffic areas we keep our distance from others as best we can. We keep the hand sanitizer close by and use it often. (my wife’s motto is “wash your hands, wash your hands”) When we are at a venue where we feel more care is required like doctor or hospital appointments, as soon as we get home, we get a change of cloths, and wash our hands. In some cases, even take a shower. I feel that for care givers, it is important that you be able to do many of the things you did prior to the circumstances that brought you to the point of being a caregiver. I feel, though I am not an expert, you should be comfortable to take part in many of those meetings. I am happy to say in over a year, we have not brought an infection or bug home. (Be extra cautious in the up-coming flue season)

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@grandpabob Good points! I already have a compromised immune system, and my husband does also due to his antirejection meds from a kidney transplant. I am careful when filling up at the gas station [the state I live in has attendants who do the work, unless you are at the casinos], going shopping, etc. If I feel I need to mask up in a public area, I do, and suffer the raised eyebrows of others at times. Better safe than sorry. Your last sentence caught my eye. I was planning on becoming a volunteer for the local school for literacy, but the students [like every elementary school!] are germ petri dishes! May have to rethink that.
Ginger

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@ethanmcconkey

Hi @raanderson, you may have noticed I moved your post to the Caregivers group so that you can connect with other caregivers.

Are you comfortable sharing what your wife's diagnosis is?

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Yes, thanks. She has AL amyloidosis. She got her stem cells back Friday. When she is discharged (ca. 9/6), we will be staying in the hotel next to the hospital for two weeks. Then we will return to Tucson. I'm having our AC/heating ductwork cleaned this week to try to improve the hygienic condition of our house. I would like to hear any suggestions that may help when we come back.

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@raanderson

Yes, thanks. She has AL amyloidosis. She got her stem cells back Friday. When she is discharged (ca. 9/6), we will be staying in the hotel next to the hospital for two weeks. Then we will return to Tucson. I'm having our AC/heating ductwork cleaned this week to try to improve the hygienic condition of our house. I would like to hear any suggestions that may help when we come back.

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@raanderson Remove your shoes when you get to the front door. Don't take them inside. Wear paper slippers if you need to. Mask up if you feel the need to, when in public. Wash your hands, often. Besides having AC/ductwork done, have you considered having someone come in to do a deep cleaning of the house [walls, ceiling, all appliances, bedding, furniture, etc] ? Let us know how she does in the next few weeks, we care here at Mayo Clinic Connect.
Ginger

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Hi @raanderson, such a great question (and responses from fellow members). You might also be interested in this blog post by Mayo experts:
– Hand Washing 101: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You https://connect.mayoclinic.org/page/transplant/newsfeed-post/hand-washing-2-0-what-you-dont-know-can-hurt-you/

Here are a few discussions where other members are talking about living with and caring for some with AL amyloidosis in the Blood Cancers & Disorders group (https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/blood-cancers-disorders/).
– Diagnosed with AL Amyloidosis. What can I expect? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/diagnosed-with-al-amyloidosis-would-like-to-hear-from-someone-about-what/
– Waldenstroms and amyloidosis https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/waldenstroms-and-amyloidosis/

Raanderson, I assume your wife is getting an autologous transplant. Correct? How is she doing after getting her stem cells back?

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@colleenyoung

Hi @raanderson, such a great question (and responses from fellow members). You might also be interested in this blog post by Mayo experts:
– Hand Washing 101: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You https://connect.mayoclinic.org/page/transplant/newsfeed-post/hand-washing-2-0-what-you-dont-know-can-hurt-you/

Here are a few discussions where other members are talking about living with and caring for some with AL amyloidosis in the Blood Cancers & Disorders group (https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/blood-cancers-disorders/).
– Diagnosed with AL Amyloidosis. What can I expect? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/diagnosed-with-al-amyloidosis-would-like-to-hear-from-someone-about-what/
– Waldenstroms and amyloidosis https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/waldenstroms-and-amyloidosis/

Raanderson, I assume your wife is getting an autologous transplant. Correct? How is she doing after getting her stem cells back?

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My wife got back her stem cells last Friday. Since then she has been feeling pretty poorly – lack of appetite, diarrhea, nausea.

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@colleenyoung

Hi @raanderson, such a great question (and responses from fellow members). You might also be interested in this blog post by Mayo experts:
– Hand Washing 101: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You https://connect.mayoclinic.org/page/transplant/newsfeed-post/hand-washing-2-0-what-you-dont-know-can-hurt-you/

Here are a few discussions where other members are talking about living with and caring for some with AL amyloidosis in the Blood Cancers & Disorders group (https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/blood-cancers-disorders/).
– Diagnosed with AL Amyloidosis. What can I expect? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/diagnosed-with-al-amyloidosis-would-like-to-hear-from-someone-about-what/
– Waldenstroms and amyloidosis https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/waldenstroms-and-amyloidosis/

Raanderson, I assume your wife is getting an autologous transplant. Correct? How is she doing after getting her stem cells back?

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I forgot to reply that it was an autologous transplant.

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@colleenyoung

Hi @raanderson, such a great question (and responses from fellow members). You might also be interested in this blog post by Mayo experts:
– Hand Washing 101: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You https://connect.mayoclinic.org/page/transplant/newsfeed-post/hand-washing-2-0-what-you-dont-know-can-hurt-you/

Here are a few discussions where other members are talking about living with and caring for some with AL amyloidosis in the Blood Cancers & Disorders group (https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/blood-cancers-disorders/).
– Diagnosed with AL Amyloidosis. What can I expect? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/diagnosed-with-al-amyloidosis-would-like-to-hear-from-someone-about-what/
– Waldenstroms and amyloidosis https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/waldenstroms-and-amyloidosis/

Raanderson, I assume your wife is getting an autologous transplant. Correct? How is she doing after getting her stem cells back?

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Thanks, Colleen, and to all the other helpful replies. My wife was discharged yesterday and we are now at the Residence Inn next to the hospital for the next two weeks, after which our next challenge will be living at home. I would like to ask anyone with pets how they deal with that. We have two young Australian Shepherds. They play vigorously in the back yard, where there is grass but also al lot of dirt and they can raise quite a dust cloud when they romp around the yard. I wonder what I can do to clean them up when they come inside?

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@raanderson

Thanks, Colleen, and to all the other helpful replies. My wife was discharged yesterday and we are now at the Residence Inn next to the hospital for the next two weeks, after which our next challenge will be living at home. I would like to ask anyone with pets how they deal with that. We have two young Australian Shepherds. They play vigorously in the back yard, where there is grass but also al lot of dirt and they can raise quite a dust cloud when they romp around the yard. I wonder what I can do to clean them up when they come inside?

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@raanderson I’m very happy to hear that your wife is out of the hospital and you’re both starting on the next stage of healing! I like the website links @colleenyoung put in her post, especially on handwashing. I might also suggest that you see if someone who knows your dogs, can take them for a good bath just before you get home. That way you’ll know that you’re starting with clean dogs! Also, maybe have some towels just outside the door so you can rub off most all the dust and dirt before they come in. I’ve been immunocompromised for over a year and my dog and all the neighborhood dogs haven’t bothered me. But, I know that you’ll keep all the neighbor dogs away! Best of luck on the ‘back to health’ journey!

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@becsbuddy

@raanderson I’m very happy to hear that your wife is out of the hospital and you’re both starting on the next stage of healing! I like the website links @colleenyoung put in her post, especially on handwashing. I might also suggest that you see if someone who knows your dogs, can take them for a good bath just before you get home. That way you’ll know that you’re starting with clean dogs! Also, maybe have some towels just outside the door so you can rub off most all the dust and dirt before they come in. I’ve been immunocompromised for over a year and my dog and all the neighborhood dogs haven’t bothered me. But, I know that you’ll keep all the neighbor dogs away! Best of luck on the ‘back to health’ journey!

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Thank you, Becky. I have another query: we stopped most contact with our grandchildren last winter. They are all in school and they are efficient vectors of disease. Our grandchildren all live nearby and use our swimming pool. We have a sort of utility room that they use to store towels and change clothes. My question is: since that room is connected to the rest of the house via the heating/cooling ductwork, is it safe for my wife to have the grandkids use that room? The concern is that airborne germs could travel through the ductwork.

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@raanderson

Thanks, Colleen, and to all the other helpful replies. My wife was discharged yesterday and we are now at the Residence Inn next to the hospital for the next two weeks, after which our next challenge will be living at home. I would like to ask anyone with pets how they deal with that. We have two young Australian Shepherds. They play vigorously in the back yard, where there is grass but also al lot of dirt and they can raise quite a dust cloud when they romp around the yard. I wonder what I can do to clean them up when they come inside?

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Brush them. We had one and we brushed her everyday and she never caused dirt trouble inside. We taught her the command “wait” and told her to wait outside the door while we brushed her or wiped her feet in the case of rainy mud. And then said “free” and she would go calmly inside. They are a super intelligent breed and love to learn commands and perform. Our daughter taught her “search” and “basket” and every night before bed she would search the house for her toys and put them away in the toy basket for us. Nice!!!!!

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