Healthcare Workers Healthy Despite Swine Flu Exposure

Physicians and nurses are managing to stay healthy in North Texas despite spending hours on end around infected patients.  So just how do they keep the illness at bay?

Hospitals across North Texas are seeing a steady flow of patients with suspected cases of the Swine Flu.

"When we do have something like this happen it does heighten our awareness," said Jennifer Sharpe, Director of Nursing at Parkland Hospital.

Just watching Sharpe on a typical day in the Emergency Room, its easy to see why she and her co-workers have not come down with the Swine Flu.

"I think the most important thing is hand washing, hand washing, hand washing," said Sharpe.  "Actually when you're washing your hands you should sing happy birthday while you have the soap on." 

Sharpe says that is the perfect amount of time to wash any germs from your hands.

At Parkland, there are signs posted above every sink in the ER, reminding hospital workers to wash their hands.  Some like Sharpe, even carry around a bottle of hand sanitizer with them no matter where they go.

"Right in my pocket, right there.  All the time," Sharpe said.

And if keeping their hands clean wasn't enough, healthcare workers at Parkland hand out masks to any patient they even suspect of having the Swine Flu.  Sharpe estimates they give out 150 or more a day and that the extra precautions seem to be working.

"I think I've worked in the ER now for about almost 17 years, and I think I've only had the flu once in 17 years."

Sharpe also cautions against putting your fingers or pens in your mouth or around your face.  She says you can easily spread germs that way.

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