I always have so many ideas for writing blogs floating round in my head, some good, some not so good, it’s hard to decide what to write about. Some of the ideas can be a little dry but need writing about and can be really useful, this is probably one of those, but still worth a read!
Hygiene is a hot topic at the moment and one I thought I should cover. We really shouldn’t just think about hygiene in massage when it’s in the public eye, it should be at the forefront of your mind all the time. Charlotte and I were only discussing this last weekend while filming and talking about all the wonderfully gross things we have seen in our time, there’s been a few. To be honest this isn’t just for the practitioner to consider the client needs to think and take responsibility too. I don’t run around with a bottle of bleach in my hand all the time at home, in fact when you have a much mud and as many animals as I do you don’t worry about it, however when you deal with people all day close up you have to take simple precautions to protect yourself and your clients.
Why is hygiene so important? because as a practitioner you work very closely with a lot of people of all ages, with and without medical conditions one after another. If you are sloppy this is a good way to spread illness and disease, not just colds and flus but there are a lot of other things, such as impetigo, verruca’s and cold sores, which are all communicable diseases.
If you are fully self-employed and you get ill, you won’t be able to work, which means you won’t get paid, even with a cold, but something more serious you have no chance. There is nothing worse than having a streaming cold and giving someone a massage, its unpleasant for the client, extremely hard work for you and will potentially slow recovery but above all you are likely to pass it around. A bigger problem is if you have elderly or clients with immunodeficiency issues, they are a high risk category and very likely to catch something from you as you are working so close to them, or from the contaminated environment of the treatment room, you might get over a common cold but they might not.
I’m really very lucky and although I’m not superstitious, touch wood, I very rarely get ill, in fact I don’t remember the last time I did. I do however take care, if a client contacts me to tell me they are ill and that they are not sure if they should have a massage I cancel, explaining the reasons why; they could make me ill, it could be passed on to other clients and the fact that massage could make them feel worse, I also thank them and tell them if they are ever not sure to ring. I don’t charge a late cancellation fee if someone is ill, I’d rather not have the money than get ill myself. However I do get an awful lot of clients turning up with a cold, generally nothing worse, some I will turn away if it’s that obvious others I don’t realise till they mention it and it’s too late. I will take time to explain why they should cancel in future but some really don’t listen.
I always find it intriguing when people tell you they have a cold but that they are not contagious. Really, you can tell? Time for a myth buster, this is taken directly from the NHS web site regarding the common cold
“In general, a person becomes contagious from a few days before their symptoms begin until all of their symptoms have gone. This means most people will be infectious for around two weeks”.
If you have symptoms you are spreading germs, the best way to stop this is stay at home.
What else do I do to stay safe and keep my clients safe? I wash my hands before and after every client even if they are husband and wife. Always before because I don’t know what my hands have touched and always after because the human body is covered in bacteria but also potentially viruses and even fungal issues such as ringworm or nail infections.
Always always wash you hands. I keep my towels laundered and have plenty of them, I use couch roll and wipe hard surfaces down in my clinic room and try not to eat in there. Above all if I’m not sure I won’t treat. I don’t go crazy with gloves, face masks and bottles of bleach I just take simple basic precautions.
If you’re a client reading this or someone that has regular treatment, if you’re really not well cancel and if you’re not sure be courteous and ring your practitioner. Let them make the decision.
So that’s it for now, it’s not rocket science it’s simple, be sensible, look after yourself and your clients will thank you for it in the long run!