HIV or Hep C from Handling Hospital Blanket/Sheet?
Dec 12, 2010
Hi Doctor, your wisdom has put my mind at ease on many occasions, but this time I feel like I experienced a new scenario that you never covered and I would really appreciate your input on this...
I tend to my Mother who needs to go to the hospital frequently for various issues. Yesterday I had to take her to the Cardiologist's office at a major hospital for a "tilt table" test, which takes about 2 hours to complete.
Well, they called her back for the test and she asked me to watch her things for her. Since she was sitting opposite from me I naturally went over to her side and picked up everything and brought it to my side. Well, one of the things I picked up was a white hospital sheet (which was bundled by her stuff). I thought it was her blanket since she gets cold often.
Then I went about waiting. I think I rubbed my eyes a few times throughout the 2 hour duration and perhaps picked at my finger nails (nothing was obviously bleeding).
When she came out I went to hand her the sheet/blanket and she said that it wasn't hers. Evidently it was someone elses and it was just sitting by her stuff! At a basic glance, I didnt see any blood on the sheet/blanket it looked clean (though I didnt open it up and examine it) but just balled up like someone would do after using it.
I then looked at my hands really well and verified that nothing was bleeding (like my fingernail cuticles), but I did have a couple areas on my hands where a layer or two was pulled back on my cuticle - it wasn't bleeding at all, but it did have a slight burn in that area when I washed my hands with soap. Of course, I'm thinking that burning is my bodys way of telling me that I just infected myself.
Question - What are my risks of catching HIV or Hep C (or anything else) after handling that sheet/blanket if that sheet/blanket was from someone with HIV or Hep C (or anything else) and given that I rubbed my eyes, picked my cuticles, and had a couple areas by my fingers where the skin was pulled back? Do I need to go get tested? Should I worry? Am I crazy?
Response from Dr. Frascino
You ask: "Am I crazy?" The answer is absolutely! You can't contract HIV or hepatitis C from merely touching a hospital blanket or sheet. Be reasonable frevinsakes!
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