A sneeze is an innocent act that everyone must do at some point in time. Sneezing is even more common among Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients due to reduced immune system strength and allergies. While many say, "God bless you" or "Gesundheit" after a sneeze, most patients cannot help but think if the person who sneezed has a transferable sickness such as the Flu or Common Cold, and if they are now at risk. Their suspicions may be well placed since a new Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) study found that a sneeze may span "the size of a room and reaching ventilation ducts at ceiling heights within a few minutes."
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Many Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients may wonder, "How does sneezing spread diseases like Measles, Influenza (Flu), Common Cold and even SARS?" Well, after the initial sneeze is released, viruses are suspended in droplets that may be inhaled or deposited onto surfaces and later picked up on the hands of an unassuming patient.
Lead Researcher, Lydia Bourouiba said, "This is a major blind spot when designing public health control and prevention policies, particularly when urgent measures are needed during epidemics or pandemics." For clarification, the appropriate protocol to avoid the spread of germs is to cough or sneeze into the crook (bend) of your elbow. Keep frequently touched common surfaces clean, such as telephones, computer keyboards, doorknobs, etc. Also, wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer frequently. Avoid touching your nose, eyes or mouth to prevent germs from spreading.
Similarly, to avoid catching the germs of others, make sure that you keep your hands washed, carry a hand sanitizer for good measure, and do not touch your nose, eyes or mouth to prevent infecting yourself. For additional safety, use a saline nasal solution or nasal mist to keep your nasal passages moist (just follow the directions on the bottle), which effectively boosts your body's own germ-flushing action.
According to Everyday Health, moist mucous membranes "lowers the chance of a cold or flu taking hold in your nose or lungs." What's more, the steam from hot drinks, like tea, coffee, and hot chocolate is also an effective way to keep the mucous membranes moist, reported the website, Caring. Yet, be sure to first discuss any new medication you are considering with your Nephrologists.
In serious cases, if a Chronic Kidney Disease patient is conducting Dialysis and his/her neighbor is sneezing consistently - making the patient uncomfortable or fearful of infection - he/she may ask to be moved or for the patient to wear a surgical mask. If neither of the requests are able to be accommodated, then the patient may consider wearing a surgical mask. Click here to make certain that the mask is placed correctly to avoid increasing your chances of infection. Additionally, if you feel uncomfortable at your Dialysis Clinic about this subject, then give a copy of this article to your Staff Nurse or Clinic Management.
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How do you avoid the "Sneeze Cloud" and keep yourself as healthy as possible throughout the year, especially during Flu Season? Share your answer with the nearly 32,000 Friends on the KidneyBuzz.com Facebook Fan Page (click here). Also, join the over 115,000 monthly visitors at KidneyBuzz.com for your Number One (1) source of Daily News, Information, Impact Meals, Inspirational Quotes, and tailored Products and Services which teach Chronic Kidney Disease, Dialysis, Diabetes and High Blood Pressure patients how to better manage and improve their lives.