I'm curious to know how other people handle this issue. Lately, my husband has been complaining about the way I leave my various hospital gear laying around. Last night, he threw a fit about my white coat draped across our kitchen island. (Germs! Cooking surface!) Then this morning, he pitched a second fit about my coat and stethescope hung on our family coat rack. (MRSA! Touching! [Our baby's]! Coat!)
I'll admit that I'm pretty lax about where I leave my doctoring supplies around the house (dinner table, kitchen counter, whatever). And I don't change/shower immediately upon returning home. But maybe my husband is right to be concerned. What do y'all do? Keep the white coat at the hospital? Shower when you get home? Or wash your hands and call it good?
The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea. -- Isak Dinesen
I showered with a compulsion after anatomy lab, simply because I found the smell of formaldehyde distasteful.
I left my white coat at the hospital for medicine (1st rotation of 3rd year), in my car for surgery (2nd rotation), in the hall closet for psychiatry (3rd rotation), and then in our kitchen, on our couch, on our bed, and even in our son's toybox occasionally (he enjoyed dressing up as a doctor). If you are going to bring MRSA home, you'll bring it home on more than just your coat. Unless a patient with meningococcus coughed on your coat, I think your family is safe.
Sadly, the media has started a widespread fear of MRSA to the point that many laypeople are now germophobes. Next time your husband scratches or picks his nose, it might be fun to bring up that 50% of the population are colonized with MRSA in their nasal passages.
I do have dedicated "hospital shoes" but they're my Merril clogs, so no biggie there. I try to wipe them down if I get obvious blood or something else on them, but otherwise, they go from closet to work.
I wear scrubs every day. Blood and body fluids are a bigger deal for me than germs. MRSA is everywhere. I probably have Swine Flu already. The only time I've changed scrubs at work so far as been after getting sprayed with HIV/crypto contaminated CSF. That day I did a dedicated load of laundry just for those. But otherwise, I don't have any sort of "decontamination" routine.
I have a basket that my bag goes in and another for stethoscope/palm/pen du jour/chapstick, but this is mostly so I have everything together and don't head off without my stethoscope.
I actually do worry a bit about bringing germs home. I do not wear a white coat much anymore. But, my practice is part urgent care, so I see tons of colds/flu/misc. viral stuff (esp. flu season) - and I have 4 kids at home (3 under 6). Soooooo.. when I come home I come in through the laundry room and change into shorts/tshirt. I put my scrubs straight into the wash. Often I then run to the bathroom to shower/wash hair that may be contaminated..
I figure I've got MRSA in my pores.. but it's the colds and such I worry about sharing with the little ones. The white coat (for when I do choose to wear it) lives at the office and stethoscope stays in the car.
I sound like a germ freak - but I'm really not..
And when they carve my stone, all they need to write on it is, "Once lived a man who got all he ever wanted..." --Ty Herndon
Personally, if no one in my family is neutropenic, we're good to go. The only thing I'm anal about is touching/holding anyone while I'm still in scrubs. I'm also a little crazy about scrubbing down my stethoscope, more to protect sick patients than well family members, though. That's at least how I was as a nurse. I'll probably do even less decontamination as a med student--doubt I'll be deep suctioning much anymore.
What about dry clean only clothes? Usually I wear dry-clean-only pants a few times before getting them dry cleaned. Do you dry clean (or Dryel) them with every wear?
Oh heck no!! Most of my pants are dry-clean only. They were cleaned when they were dirty. Washing your clothes will do little when you are the most likely vector. If something is noxious or contagious enough to put neutropenic patients at risk, there will be signs on the door and gowns outside.
Provided you get the flu shot, you are covered for the largest infectious threat.