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Do you get sick a lot?

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This is my first year working in primary care. Most of the patients I see are sick visits. I get sick all the time. Over the holidays I had 2 URIs back to back. Now I’ve got laryngitis and can hardly speak. It seems like every other month or so I catch something. I feel like I’m letting my coworkers down because I’ve already taken 5 sick days in the past 6 months. Is this normal? Will my immune system get stronger? Or is this just how it will be if I continue seeing all the sick patients? 

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You will build up your immune system your first 1-2 years in primary care esp if you see kids. Hang in there. Fluids, lots of sleep and get your flu shots. Oh most of all: Wash your hands like you have OCD!

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk

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15 minutes ago, cinntsp said:

Put on a mask, take some sudafed, and tough it out!

I do not feel like I’m just taking sick days willy nilly. I hate taking sick days and have only taken them on the days where my fever was sky high and all I could do was lay in bed. These haven’t been the sick days where I’m just hanging around watching TV. And unfortunately this past week I have had to take 2 days because my laryngitis got so bad I can’t speak. 

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ugh

 

this is part of why I left office based urgent care and the ER

 

What I have come to learn - we tend to inoculate ourselves - we touch our face, eye, nose and mouth with dirty hands....

Now I am judicious about hand washing and not touching my face and I am sick a lot less

 

some of it is just bad luck, come of it is your hygiene

 

try wearing a mask for a day or two nd you will likely realize how often you are touching your face

 

Also - start and end every visit with hand washing, have the patients ALWAYS turn away to breath, keep your distance, hid behind them during exam, don't look close in their mouth....

 

 

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And sleep, sleep, sleep.

I've noticed that how much and how well I sleep has had the most effect on my sickness.  (not a PA yet but work on an ambulance).  I've been moved around to lots of shifts and the second shift or night shift allows me more time to sleep and I was healthiest on that time.  I've fought with my body my whole life and I'm just not a morning person.  The shifts where I've had to be up at 6 am or earlier every day were the times I got sick the most.  At 6 am my body wants to be in REM.  

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Wear a mask with ALL sick patients, even ones that might be sick. Sanitize your hands after every visit like you have OCD. Sanitize your stethoscope and laptop if you use one, at least twice a day. Dont wear it around your neck. Wash hands with soap and water every day before you leave work.

Anecdotal, but I find 1,000 mg vit C and 8,000 units of vit D (i live in MI) helpful. I take vit C year-round. If I feel something coming on I load up on 3-4 grams a day. Placebo? maybe, but it works for me.

Aside from that, after 1-2 years at the same clinic you should have pretty stout immunity. 

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I started in the ER after graduating and I would be legit sick every 3-4 months. I had sick days but no one was able to use them as we could never get coverage for our shifts. One day I was feeling so deathly that the charge nurse took me to the back and I got a 1L bag of NS and a gram of tylenol + zofran and then finished my 10 hour shift....good times

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I have compassion for you. I am an active healthy person but I've been sick with NASTY colds twice this season (my first year in family med) that lasted for weeks.

I just saw a family with the flu and washed my hands/forearms like I was scrubbing in to a spine case. Hand hygiene, obsessively. And some good lotion for afterwards.

Avoid standing in front of sick patients. And when you do need to be in front of them, ALWAYS wear a mask. (This time a year, if my schedule is full of sick pts, I'll usually just wear my mask all day. I try to avoid it as it seems kind of sterile/hands off to my non sick pts, but hey, I gotta stay well)

You can typically see the posterior OP/tonsils just as well by having the pt open their mouth and take a big breath IN instead of saying "AHH" and breathing out. Try it in the mirror at home, pretty cool.

FOCUSED physical exams. ie: If classic Strep symptoms in a kiddo, take a quick peek in the throat, listen to the lungs etc., swab, treatment plan and GTFO.

I do the Vitamin C packets w/ zinc on the regular. 1-3 grams a day when the cold season is ON.

Oh, and make sure that whomever cleans the pt rooms after each visit is doing a THOROUGH job. You would be surprised by how many surfaces do not get thoroughly cleaned if you just watch people clean an exam room. Get them to clean the door handles as well if this isn't already being done. Alternatively, carry a lysol can on a hip belt and just spray it in front of you wherever you walk as if you're laying out the red carpet for yourself when you enter every room. XD

 

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I was just looking up. I had missed 1 day per decade in my career, until I was hit with this cancer and now I've missed 4 weeks in a row. I didn't see sick kids or contagious patients in my practice (Headache Medicine) and that may be one reason I didn't get sick very often.

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Just now, jmj11 said:

I was just looking up. I had missed 1 day per decade in my career, until I was hit with this cancer and now I've missed 4 weeks in a row. I didn't see sick kids or contagious patients in my practice (Headache Medicine) and that may be one reason I didn't get sick very often.

You take care.  You helped me become the PA I am today.  I also took a day off every few months with "gastroenteritis" until I had a b/l pe w/ cor pulmonale a month ago, and was in the ICU for a week on TPA.  There sick and then there's sick, eh. 

But jmj's posts have been there even before PA school.  Every time I see a patient with a headache, I think of the knowledge I have gleaned from his posting on here.

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On 2/7/2019 at 4:21 PM, jmj11 said:

I was just looking up. I had missed 1 day per decade in my career, until I was hit with this cancer and now I've missed 4 weeks in a row. I didn't see sick kids or contagious patients in my practice (Headache Medicine) and that may be one reason I didn't get sick very often.

positive hope prayers and vibes heading your way my friend..... you inspired me to do my own practice!!

 

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Doing Primary care for 32 years.  Had more than 250.00, patient visits, and I have missed one day of work.  I truly believe that we inoculate ourselves over time against most things with just interaction with sick patients.  I do get the flu vaccine annually and current on immunizations.  (75 Y/O).  But then I was never sickly even in grade school.  No vaccine then so I did get MMR in early grade school.  otherwise "nada".

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