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A Reader’s Response
I just wanted to touch base with you about one reader’s comment about flushing Band-aids after small pox inoculation. I have had a very recent (as in December) experience with this with my spouse.
The standard has changed. The pamphlet (and it was a full pamphlet, as well as further printed information) my husband was given by his dispensing medic outlined the following procedure for changing bandages after inoculation – I’m paraphrasing here, but I’ll give you the basic run down:
1) You, and only you, should handle your bandages and laundry until the site has scabbed over and the scab has FALLEN OFF.
2) Close contact with other individuals – especially sexual partners – should be only with a bandage on the site AND a shirt with sleeves that covers the site. (Side note: my husband said that it itched so much at certain times and burned/hurt at others that he didn’t want to think how painful it would be to have our toddler slap him on the arm. An extra reason for keeping that area away from anyone who doesn’t know to not touch there.)
3) Disposal is as follows: all bandages are to be handled ONLY by you. You should remove used bandages and place them in a zipper style plastic baggie. Then dispose of them in the trash – again, only yourself. Wash hands with hot water and soap EVERY time you handle the bandage.
4) Keep your laundry separate from other people’s laundry and in a safe place where children and pets will not have access to it.
5) Laundry is to be done by you and ONLY you until the scab has fallen off. All your laundry (both clothing and bath towels, etc) should be done in a hot water wash and preferably on hot temp dryer. (We added vinegar to the rinse water as well, both as a fabric softener and as a disinfectant. My husband did his laundry *after* I had done everyone else’s and I ran a vinegar + hot water rinse / empty load afterward.)
6) The site does require fresh air to heal faster; however, due to exposure risks, this is best done when any children are asleep already and people are relaxing for the night. This is how we did it as there was very little chance of either child hugging Daddy or rubbing his arm while he was not bandaged. Then he could shower and place his towels/clothing in his basket in the closet without my son trying to “help” by playing with the basket or linens.
There is one important note that I would like your readers to know in case they are medical workers, law enforcement or military who do *not* already have the small pox vaccine: it is VERY important to tell the dispensing tech if you or any household members have, or have *ever* had, skin diseases such as eczema or rosacea. The medic who gave my husband his vaccination did NOT ask as he was supposed to, and I was the one who spotted it as I read over the care info! It turned out that because I have rosacea and our son has eczema, my husband should *NOT* have gotten this shot done! Luckily I spotted it and my hubby is very, very vigilant about pathogens from his own previous medical training, so we took the military/CDC cautions and doubled them. (Yes, really…he didn’t even change a diaper or hold our son unless he washed his hands first.) It shouldn’t even have come into our household (as per the CDC document he handed hubby!) unless there was an actual small pox outbreak in our area - even then they would weigh whether it should be given – and this guy didn’t even *ask*. So it behooves your readers to verify the information before they get such an immunization. (Side note, we aren’t anti-vaccine, so I’m not trying to tell anyone to defy any orders they are given to get one if they are military. I just want them to know that they *might* be exempt due to the risk/danger to their medical history or that of a family member in certain cases.)
For those who may have missed it this discussion began because we were talking about sanitation and disposing of items contaminated by those suffering from a pandemic illness. I would not suggest flushing as a plugged pipe could leave you without restroom facilities for quite a while, as there would be no one to repair the problem, and you do not want waste backing up into your home.
Thank you so much for all the questions and comments. Just four more days until our February Give Away!! Comment now for a chance to win!