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Immune system of a doctor..

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by BeachBlondie, Jun 21, 2008.

  1. BeachBlondie

    BeachBlondie Put some tussin on it! 7+ Year Member

    Apr 27, 2008
    I'm always curious and thinking to myself, "Are doctors always very healthy because their immune systems are under siege of so many cooties? Or, do they get sick from exposure to different illnesses all the time?"

    ...And yea, that's the way I address things of this nature. In my own head. Don't trip.
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  3. RySerr21

    RySerr21 i aint kinda hot Im sauna 7+ Year Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    i think youve outdone yourself...hard to believe i know
  4. BeachBlondie

    BeachBlondie Put some tussin on it! 7+ Year Member

    Apr 27, 2008
    Whoa. WHOA. It's a rather pertinent question. I mean, do they get inocculated out of the ying-yang? Strange example, but a friend of mine went into the Peace Corps and spent a week getting a series of shots for precautionary reasons.

    A doctor never has any way of knowing what they'll come into direct contact with.
  5. slim78

    slim78 2+ Year Member

    Dec 18, 2007

    After your acceptance and paid matriculation fee, your school will tell you exactly what things to get your ying-yang inoculated against. And after your inoculations, you have to get your immunity tested with titers. The MMR stuff you should already have had, you just need the titers to test your immunity.

    Here is an example of what I mean. These are the vaccinations/tests my ying-yang needs to get before I start school.

    Drug Screen Drug Screen

    Hepatitis B Hep B Surface Antibody

    Hepatitis B #1

    Hepatitis B #2

    Hepatitis B #3

    Measles Measles Immunization #1

    Measles Immunization #2

    Measles Titer

    Medical History Medical Hx Questionnaire

    Mumps Mumps Immunization #1

    Mumps Titer

    Rubella Rubella Immunization #1

    Rubella Titer

    Tetanus Tetanus

    Tuberculosis TB step 1

    TB step 2

    neg TB#1

    Varicella Varicella Titer
  6. BeachBlondie

    BeachBlondie Put some tussin on it! 7+ Year Member

    Apr 27, 2008
    ....Th-th-th-that's it? *gulp*

    Someone's gonna be soooooooooore! :)
  7. ATrain

    ATrain 2+ Year Member

    Feb 25, 2008
    Biddeford, ME
    Most of that stuff you've probably had already and just need to show history/immunity. I didn't need to get a single vaccination since i was already immune to everything required. I did however opt for the Hep A, which was not required, although recommended
  8. ComputerGeek64

    ComputerGeek64 2+ Year Member

    Apr 16, 2008
    The injections are a breeze. It's the titers that suck. I have small veins and it took two phlebotomists, six ties of the tourniquet and two jabs of the needle to get blood for the titer.
  9. Vee

    Vee 10+ Year Member

    Dec 13, 2006
    New England
    I disagree....titers weren't bad even though it took two people 3 sticks. It was when the Rubella titer came back low that things went downhill. The MMR booster hurt like a beast for at least 5 days. It was also red, hot, swollen and itchy around the injection site (all to be expected, but not fun nonetheless).
  10. BellaPsyD

    BellaPsyD Correctional Psychologist 5+ Year Member

    this came up in the "New Topics" post, so I thought I'd throw my 2 cents in. :) Like slim78 (BTW, I go to MWU in Illinois!)- any health care professions will need to be vaccinated and then titered prior to matriculation. But, as a child health and neuro clinical psychologist....I've still managed to get sick more than normal throughout the years and my rotations (mostly cold/flu stuff...but I've had the pink eye, ringworm, dermatitis, etc. bouts as well). Anyways, like someone said- most of those you should already be vaccianted against- it's the titers that are key- my titers told me I was NEVER immune/properly vaccinated against to MMR!! Imagine THAT surprise!

    Good luck on your journey! I admire you all!
  11. ComputerGeek64

    ComputerGeek64 2+ Year Member

    Apr 16, 2008
    My titers were for MMR and Varicella. If my results are low, I guess I'll discover the joys of MMR boosters. :) So far, the Hep-Bs, polio booster and TB PPB haven't been bad at all.
  12. MossPoh

    MossPoh Textures intrigue me 7+ Year Member

    Apr 24, 2006
    Tally/Willkillya County
    My dad never gets sick. He was out for back pain more than anything. (Did lots of interventional radiology) That is also the reason why he didn't get sick...wasn't around too much in the way of easy to spread disease. You get in the habit of washing your hands and using that antibacterial gel stuff A LOT. It is near compulsive with me now.
  13. TexasTriathlete

    TexasTriathlete HTFU 5+ Year Member

    Aug 19, 2007
    The ATL
    The answer is yes, there are still things out there that can ruin your weekend if you're not careful.
  14. MossPoh

    MossPoh Textures intrigue me 7+ Year Member

    Apr 24, 2006
    Tally/Willkillya County
    Or they can make your weekend fun and ruin your monday morning.
  15. JaggerPlate

    JaggerPlate 10+ Year Member

    May 28, 2007
    That's why I don't spend weekends with TexasTri anymore :(
  16. DiverDoc

    DiverDoc KCUMB 2012 10+ Year Member

    The real culprit of a doc being immuno comprimised IMHO has to do with stress. Stress has a profound impact on the immune system as well as others.
  17. group_theory

    group_theory EX-TER-MIN-ATE!' Administrator Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Oct 2, 2002
    The main question deals with sickness in the healthcare profession. With the exception of pediatrics, with universal precaution (and when needed, contact isolation gowns, and/or mask) you shouldn't have to worry about catching anything your patients have. Make sure you wash your hand frequently, and try to be self-aware of what your hand is doing at all times (try avoiding touching your own face/eyes/nose/mouth). You'll be surprised how often you do this without being aware of it.

    For pediatrics, especially during cold-flu season, especially in outpatient pediatrics - you will get sick initially. You can wash your hand like crazy but the entire office (from door knob to table/chair/sink) is coated with snot from hands of sick kiddos. But just like teachers, daycare workers, parents ... with repeat exposures you develop immunity to the common bugs with time.

    As for immunization - it is a good idea to follow the current CDC immunization guidelines. Hepatitis B vaccination (and in some cases, proof of immunity by quantitative HbsAb antibody) is require by almost all medical schools now and basically by all hospitals. Hepatitis B is 100x more contagious than HIV when it comes to needle sticks.

    Once you enter clinical settings (basically from your 3rd year of medical school until you retire from practice), expect to get annual PPDs.

    It would indeed be smart to be immunized against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella. If you run into a kid with the active disease and you are not immunized against that virus, you not only harm yourself but also put additional patients at risk (this is especially true if you are taking care of babies or the elderly, or the immunosuppressed)

    Tetanus shot should be updated every 5-10 years (the timing of a tetatus boaster is beyond the scope of this post). If you haven't received the acellular pertusis boaster within the last couple years (new recommendation), it might be a good idea to get it since there are some areas of the country where pertusis is making a comeback.

    And get the flu shot every year. Not only does the flu make you VERY miserable, but the flu kills thousands of people every year. In clinical settings, your patients are vulnerable, in a weaken state and most likely fall into the category of high mortality/morbidity from the flu. You can give them your bug just as easily as they can give you theirs.
  18. EastWestN2grt

    EastWestN2grt White Coat, Raised Fist!! 7+ Year Member

    Apr 14, 2005
    Got to suck it up cause i got an examination on monday! I think i caoght something from the free clinic I volunteer at, last weekend. Now im dealing with a lousy cough and congestion and its bloody June 21!!

    I think the stress of med school just wears down your immunity, and makes you more susceptible. Maybe with more clinic time ill have less colds/flu/etc. I hope anyway, cause in terms of #of colds this year has sucked for me.
  19. EastWestN2grt

    EastWestN2grt White Coat, Raised Fist!! 7+ Year Member

    Apr 14, 2005
    Oh yeah. I agree with you group theory. I made a pact to myself this year that i would get the flu shot every year from now on. Cant afford to catch every virus a patient coughs up on me.b
  20. biogirl215

    biogirl215 2+ Year Member

    May 1, 2007
    Bringing up an old post... but do you guys get a lot of norovirus? Or do you just not eat in the hospital/clinic?
  21. Instatewaiter

    Instatewaiter But... there's a troponin 10+ Year Member

    Apr 28, 2006
    to get norwalk and norwalk like viruses you usually need fecally contaminated stuff. So unless the chef is a dirty SOB and doesnt wash his hands you dont have to worry about it. Just wash your hands before you eat.

    To the original question- you'll prolly get sick as med student/resident a bunch but after repeated exposure you will have a pretty strong immune system. When I was a kid I remember my father rarely getting sick. Even when he would get sick the illness would last for about 24h and then he would be completely fine.
  22. acrunchyfrog

    acrunchyfrog In memory of Riley 7+ Year Member

    Dec 18, 2006
    Yakima, WA
    Don't forget your smallpox inocculation! Did anyone else get it when the guv was offering it post 9/11+anthrax scare?

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