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Airborne meningitis/sepsis exposure?

Nurses   (6,660 Views 5 Comments)
by Megsd Megsd, BSN, RN (Member) Member

Megsd is a BSN, RN and specializes in Neuro.

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Hi all, I had the opportunity as a student to spend time in the pediatric ER last night, and got to stand in the trauma room while the team resuscitated a 2 month old. After the initial exam the doctor made everyone put on a face mask. I was unsure why at the time, but later during the pt's CT scan I was told the doctor suspected meningitis and/or sepsis due to meningitis. One of the nurses told the nurse who was charting the trauma to make sure my name was on the charting in case it did turn out to be meningitis.

Last night was my last night at the hospital, so I am concerned that if there WAS an exposure, will they be able to reach me for screening and treatment if necessary? Is it even possible to be exposed to meningitis through an airborne transmission, especially for a person who was at least 10 feet away from the patient at all times? Should I inform my clinical instructor about this possible exposure? How soon would I need to be screened? My only prior experience with meningitis was a friend in college who nearly died and lost almost all of his fingers and toes, so needless to say I am a little spooked.

Thanks for any info you can provide.

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traumaRUs has 27 years experience as a MSN, APRN and specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

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I would definitely inform your clinical instructor, but wouldn't worry otherwise. You are right, 10 feet away is a long way for those little droplets to travel. Good luck.

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I am impressed by the conscientiousness of the nurse who requested that your name be recorded in case there is a need to contact you. She is a great advocate!

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Let your instructor know and then don't dwell on it. Chances are you were far enough away that you were not exposed. Be aware of early s/s of meningitis and if you think you are experiencing them, see your physician and mention the potential exposure.

Again, I wouldn't dwell on it. If you really were at least 10 feet away at all times then you're fine.

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