It’s not often that Easter and Passover converge on one weekend, and even less so when the joyous celebrations take place in the midst of a measles outbreak. For that reason, Frederick Davis, MPH, DO, and his wife, Danielle Turrin, DO, spoke of their own experiences as new parents of a 4-month-old child and suggested easy ways for families to fend off contamination during their holiday travels.
Dr. Davis and Dr. Turrin work in two of the busiest emergency rooms in New York: Dr. Davis serves as associate chair of the emergency department at LIJ Medical Center in New Hyde Park while Dr. Turrin works in the ED at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset. As local residents complete their preparations for the upcoming holiday weekend get-togethers, the doctors emphasize that a bit of planning and preparation can go a long way to ensure a germ-free celebration.
“Especially now that we’re facing the measles outbreak, our laundry room functions almost like a decontamination room,” said Dr. Turrin. “We make sure to take off all the clothing we wore in the hospital during the day. And, before we approach the baby, we make sure to wash our hands thoroughly. As emergency room physicians, we do everything we can to limit the possibility of contamination at home.”
When it comes to leaving your own home to visit others, a few key questions before setting out can make all the difference in the world, said Dr. Davis.
“Be careful about sharing cutlery and consider using paper plates and napkins during mealtime,” he said. “Most important, don’t be afraid to ask your hosts if anyone in the house seems to be coughing or showing any of the early signs of sickness. Don’t be afraid to ask if children in the home have been vaccinated. This is very important.”
Dr. Davis explained that measles is spread via droplets in the air that can linger in the room for two hours. The very old, the very young, and people living with certain immuno-compromised conditions are especially at risk.
So, follow these simple suggestions, and, if someone is not feeling well at your destination, it might be time to change your plans, said the doctors. At this joyous time of year, an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure.