Healthcare Worker Safety and Occupational Health
Concurrent Education Session - 60 minutes
This session is a lighthearted look through history at the humorous, unlikely, and sometimes absurd ways that people have tried to protect themselves from infectious diseases. Participants will learn about one medieval treatment for the Bubonic plague was the Vicary Method, which involved removing the feathers from the bottom of a live hen, which was then strapped to the swollen lymph nodes of an individual who was suffering from the plague. When the chicken got sick, it was thought to have drawn out the illness. The chicken was then washed and reapplied. This process continued until either the chicken or the patient was dead, which leads to the question: Should chickens be considered PPE?
The discussion will then move from antiquity into the dawn of a new age of science. Participants will learn the ways that our understanding of disease transmission, practices, and PPE have evolved since the advent of germ theory. This session will discuss the new challenges that continue to present themselves in emerging infectious diseases, and highlight how more science, resources, and technology hasn’t changed misconceptions about the origins of disease or how to protect ourselves from them.
This session touch on the widespread misconceptions and public fear related to the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and 90s and the modern struggle to eliminate the ancient disease of tuberculosis. The session concludes with a discussion about the development and evolution of body substance isolation, universal, and standard precautions.