Risk of getting your family members sick?


Hi everyone, i am currently working on my ADN right now and i'm starting to learn more about the hospital setting and how it tends to have many pathogens. I have no doubt that i want to be a nurse, but my biggest concern is that i might spread something to my significant other or my children (don't have any yet). I am aware that MRSA colonizes in some facilities and respiratory infections are common as well. I'm told that we build up an immunity to it and that we should be fine, however im still worried that it can spread to my family members and im still not sure how serious it can be. I did some research on my own but id appreciate if someone can give me some insight and clarify some things.

I've research that we should clean our scrubs right away when we get home, if i take them off and throw it in the "dirty pile" how much of a threat is it of causing an infection to other people? i wouldn't want to throw it in the washer every single day due to bills, so if you have a method that works, can you please share. and for shoes i plan to like.. soak em with alcohol or something before bringing them in the house, will that work?

should i wash the scrubs alone?

How serious is MRSA really and should i be worry that it can spread to people in my household if i catch it? is it easily spreaded? can it be suppressed enough? What about the norovirus?

When someone is on TB prophylaxis.. what exactly is being done?

I just really like to know how serious some diseases are that i'm likely or could get, can it be beaten, if it can't really be rid of how likely am i to spread it to my family?

what are some precautions or tips that i can take to prevent my love ones of being infected with something that i might've caught?

Thank you guys, i really do appreciate it if anyone can give me some info or insight.

and please be honest, i like to know what i'm really up against.

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 46 years experience.

You are at infinitely higher risk of bringing home something from the grocery store than you are from a hospital. The people at the grocery don't have isolation signs and there's no PPE.

In my 40 years of nursing, I've never washed my clothes separately, or any of other extreme measures you're talking about. We are as healthy as most people.

Also, per AllNurses TOS- if you are not an RN, you cannot have it or nurse in your username. Nurse is a protected title.

roser13, ASN, RN

6,504 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC. Has 17 years experience.

Pete - change your username. You are not yet an RN.


337 Posts

Having kids, I can tell ya that they are the ones who bring home the bugs from school. Way more cooties at school than in a hospital. I know I would end up sick about 2 weeks into each school year for the first couple years my kids were at elementary school Of course they were sick too!

Specializes in Gerontology. Has 37 years experience.

You are more likely to pick up MRSA from Walmart that from work.

Every time you or your loved ones step out of your home you risk being exposed to MRSA, TB, the flu, whatever.

The only time that I kept my work clothes separate from everything else was during SARS and that was a very different kettle of fish.

The only reason I wash my scrubs separately is because I use warm water and don't used fabric softener for them. Otherwise, they go in the same hamper as everything else, hang in the same closet as everything else.


916 Posts

Specializes in Critical care.

I wash my hands right before leaving work and leave my shoes in my garage. I don't shower after work because I like to shower when I get up. I've been sick 1 time in the last 18 months- one of my coworkers got me sick (which can happen in any job)- and I don't know of any infections that I've brought home to family members (nobody in my house has been acutely ill). I wash my uniforms with other clothes unless I think I've been particularly gross one day.

Honestly, teacher friends and their families have been ill more times from things going around.

I had one coworker with an immunocompromised child who worried about taking germs and viruses home. This nurse eventually changed jobs so their patients aren't sick with contagious infections.


39 Posts

In the 16 years I worked bedside in the hospital, the only time I contracted something from a pt was scabies. The pt had been misdiagnosed and I was exposed prior to taking isolation precautions. I was exposed to whooping cough, chicken pox, poss TB, more MRSA than I care to count, VRE, etc.

A few times that I did get my scrubs soiled with visible blood, urine, feces, etc, I just took them to the hospital laundry service and they washed them on site. I thought that might have been an OSHA requirement, but I could be wrong.

You will be fine.

Specializes in Med Surg. Has 8 years experience.

Study the Chain of Infection.

i changed my name.. but i still have RN in it. ill change it in next available edit

sorry will change it soon

Editorial Team / Admin

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

6 Articles; 11,328 Posts

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development. Has 18 years experience.
i changed my name.. but i still have RN in it. ill change it in next available edit

sorry will change it soon

Soon to be is acceptable as it distinguishes that you do not yet hold the title/license.

oh ok, ill still change it anyway to make me feel better, and im currently taking microbiology now.

thank you for your responses guys