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paranoid with eczema

Nov 29, 2009

Dear Dr. Bob,

I have read through your forum and seen many similar cases to mine. For the most part my fears over HIV transmission have been relieved, however, I think due to an overactive imagination I still can't stop being paranoid and would very much like if you could address my particular situation.

I recently started volunteering at a clinic which provides free services to disadvantaged teens. My main job is to serve as a receptionist and check patients in and have them fill out any necessary paperwork. As was the situation in a previous question, this makes the contact I have with them mostly limited to sharing pens and clipboards. Now, my problem is that I have eczema on my hands, usually with several non-bleeding, but open, red, small blister like sores. I'm pretty sure I know your answer, but is there any risk to me if say a patient got blood on a pen or clipboard that I touched right afterward and I didn't notice it?

Also, I am hoping to enter the heathcare field, and will my eczema put me at a much higher risk for becoming infected? Thank you for your wonderful forum. Happy holidays,


Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Paranoid,

No risk. But you knew that already, didn't you? Of course you did.

Eczema, particularly if you have it effectively treated and controlled, should not be a deterrent to your working in the field of health care. Appropriate precautions should be taken, such as wearing latex gloves if you have open lesions and will have the chance to come into contact with fresh infectious bodily fluids. Despite the fact that your eczema should not be a deterrent to working in the field of health care, your irrational fears of HIV might very well be! If you're "paranoid" about the possibility of HIV transmission, why choose a career that will feed into your paranoia and phobia? If you want to consider a career in the health care field, I'd strongly suggest you get psychotherapy (counseling) first to address your psychological problem.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

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