How Healthcare Workers Can Prevent Carrying COVID-19 Home

Smiling young doctor wear medical uniform with stethoscope looking at camera

Healthcare workers are regularly exposed to germs and, during the pandemic, at risk of being infected with the coronavirus. Many health professionals must care for COVID-19 patients. This leaves the possibility they can carry it home and transmit the virus to loved ones. However, with precautions and proper hygiene after a hospital shift, you can prevent that from happening.

Here’s how you can protect your family and yourself:

Wash Your Hands Frequently and Thoroughly During the Day

Remember to wash your hands between tasks; when going from one patient to another; and before donning and doffing goggles, face shields, respirators, and other PPE—wash again after removing PPE items as well. Also wash your hands the last thing when you leave. Soap and warm water should be used each time.

Only Bring Necessities to Work

Leave behind tote bags, purses, books, and other personal belongings. Respiratory droplets can land on these and be carried home. Only bring to work items you absolutely need, such as your wallet, ID, and food, to decrease the risk of transmission.

Take a Shower When You Get Home

A hot shower should be your first priority as soon as you arrive home. Wash and scrub thoroughly to make sure no virus remains on your body. If your employer lets staff shower at work, this is an even better option.

Change Your Clothes Immediately

Take your shoes off before going inside. There’s a risk coronavirus can be carried on them, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The same goes for clothing. Changing into scrubs at work, and storing clothes you wore from home in a safe location can reduce the risk of transmission.

When you leave work, change back into your original clothes and place worn scrubs in a disposable bag. To be extra safe, change your clothes again before entering your house. Throw your scrubs into the washing machine separate from the rest of your laundry. Once the items are in the washer, discard the bag in a lined trash can.

Look Out for Symptoms

If you start to experience fever or chills, a cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle/body aches, a headache, a sore throat, a runny nose, sinus congestion, or the new loss of taste or smell, notify loved ones and avoid contact with them.

Fit Test Your Mask

N95 respirators should completely cover your mouth and nose. Fit testing, required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), is an infection control procedure that your employer must follow. To learn about your organization’s fit test requirements, contact infection control personnel or the occupational health department.

Disinfect Personal Items

man hands in gloves disinfecting smartphone

Depending on the surface, the coronavirus can survive for hours to days. If any item is visibly dirty, wash it with detergent soap and water. Use disinfecting wipes or spray products, or a 70% at a minimum isopropyl alcohol solution, to clean pens, credit cards, cellphones, and other items you bring to work.

Find Healthcare Products at Prudential Overall Supply

We supply scrubs and uniforms as well as cleaning solutions, hygienic storage systems, hand hygiene equipment, disinfectant sprays, and PPE for healthcare workers. Towel laundering services are available as well. Request a quote or call 800-767-5536 to learn more.