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The risks of health care workers getting exposed to illnesses

Health care workers face a strong risk of getting infected with contagious issues whenever epidemics or seasonal illnesses make their way through an area. Matters become even worse if health care professionals face understaffing issues relative to the demand and do not receive the necessary protective gear.

In fact, CNBC reports that when it comes to physically hazardous industries, nursing ranks second. For comparison, construction ranks first, which is one of the most dangerous injuries to work in for any category. EMTs also make the list of most dangerous professions.

Causes of infection

According to a 2019 study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, there are the most common ways health care workers get infected with diseases:

  • Direct contact with infected people
  • Airborne particles
  • Droplets on surfaces
  • Getting pricked by infected needles

Nurses seem especially susceptible to getting pricked by needles compared to other health care professionals. This might be because when nurses are present, they are more likely to administer shots and handle needles.

Physicians become particularly susceptible to burnout. Burnout can cause doctors to not take all the necessary precautions as they become less alert. Stress also has a negative effect on the immune system. These can serve to make them more susceptible over time. However, note that all health care professionals might fall victim to burnout.

Infectious diseases

The main concern with needles is the transmission of HIV, which happens at an alarming rate. Other infectious diseases identified by the study include the following:

  • Varicella
  • Influenza
  • Rhinovirus
  • Measles
  • SARS

These diseases do not require direct contact for transmission. Health care workers often get infected because of airborne particles.

Protecting the people who ensure Georgia’s public health should become the number one priority of more governments and organizations. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.