Sterile field contamination?

  1. I have a serious question, but I'm posting it here because it is pretty darn funny. Last fall during typical first-quarter topic being contamination of sterile fields...a thought occurred to me. In A&P we were told that if you can smell something, then there are particles of it floating in the air. So obviously, when you smell the remains of someone passing gas, you're inhaling poopie particles, right? Well, if a sneeze can contaminate a sterile field, what about the particles floating around from pfffffttttttt?! I mean, they have to land somewhere, right? Anything above the waist is potentially able to contaminate, so if that smell wafts up to your nose, what's to stop that from landing on your sterile field? I know, I know, that's pretty cheesy...but the prof actually had to ask a physician about it because she didn't know.
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    About MamaT

    Joined: Jun '04; Posts: 36; Likes: 8
    Staff Nurse
    Specialty: 1 year(s) of experience in Med-Surg


  3. by   sunnyjohn

    I thought the smell from a fart was caused by the escaping methane gas??

  4. by   Medic9
    There's more to a flatus (dare I say fart?) than just methane gas. Firstly and I think most obviously (yet we are loathe to admit it) is that the gases do pick up various things on its way out. It has no choice since its going down the path. However, most of the smells are combinations of mercaptans and sulfides (read: sulfur). I do believe there are other gases involved as well.

    Anyway, it couldn't be just one gas because as we all can attest, farts smell different from person to person and even from meal to meal within individuals. Basically, how a fart will smell will depend on the meals eaten. Beans produce high volumes of gas but provide little stench, meats and eggs on the other hand seem to produce vile smelling gas.

    Without becoming disgusting, I'd imagine that particulate matter in various forms is picked up and expelled, but (no pun intended) I suspect that your cotton (you do wear cotton don't you?) underwear will trap that up. But I cannot say this with absolute authority. :chuckle

    The moral of the story? Don't eat steak and eggs over a bed of beans.

  5. by   psalm_55
    to avoid contamination of a sterile field from a sneeze, i sneeze toward the floor. perhaps we need to implement a new policy re: gas passing. interesting . . . i can just see physicians and nurses dropping to the floor . . .
  6. by   Indy
    No, I'm not going to squat suddenly to fart while trying to put in a foley!
  7. by   goats'r'us
    what a brilliant question! and one that is sure to make us all go hmm...

    the bigger question is, how can we stop this contamination?

    i can envision stick-on bags that cover your anus so that you can toot away to your hearts content, with the little bag puffing up as the only proof of what's going on downstairs.

    any better ideas?
  8. by   MamaT
    I think the guys on Mythbusters need to take on the task of determining actual contamination.
  9. by   MamaT
    Ya know, I once saw a skit on either SNL or was a fake commercial for an anal plug that made your toots sound like a phone ringing or whatever you wanted. Maybe someone could make a plug that filters.
  10. by   abasel_99
    hhhhhh u r right
  11. by   abasel_99
    there must be attached va:chuckle ccumes used by staff for these situations hhhh
  12. by   Angie O'Plasty
    Well, "particles" can just mean the molecules of a gas, and I think that is the case here. When somebody lets one rip, the noxious odor comes from various gases (such as hydrogen sulfide and mercaptans etc.) formed when intestinal bacteria ferment indigestible material. I don't think there are actual particles of fecal matter that are causing the stink, so that wouldn't be an issue for contamination. Just don't light a match
  13. by   BlueEyedRN
    Oh my. I am so glad I found this site. I had no idea nurses were so disgusting and dirty. I feel much more at home now. Thanks.
  14. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from Angie O'Plasty
    I don't think there are actual particles of fecal matter that are causing the stink, so that wouldn't be an issue for contamination. Just don't light a match
    ok, i'll fess up to a story that belongs in Rippers Believe It or Not.

    i think back to marriage #1.
    i was a young bride of 18, my husband only a few yrs older.
    he truly was a brilliant, brilliant man.
    his humor however....well, the following should speak for itself.

    one noc he wanted to show me the results of lighting a match as he breezed.
    the visuals: him on his back, shorts around ankles, w/legs extended upright, knees partially flexed.
    he lit a match as he breezed...the blue flame was impressive.
    burning his b*lls while frantically blowing out the match, with the panic-stricken look on his face: priceless.

    i don't think i ever laughed so hard in my life.
    30 yrs later, i still can't get that whole scene out of my mind.
    so listen to angie.
    don't light a match.