Anyone hear of "sick camper" diagnoses? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-16-2017, 04:06 PM   #15
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You can buy a box of 100 latex gloves for less than $20. Peel them off and dispose.
That will do you for fifty visits to the sanidump.
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Old 04-16-2017, 06:52 PM   #16
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I would say that paying attention to the soft surfaces is a good idea for your weekly cleaning. Full time living with upholstered surfaces in environments that can get dusty is the issue. Not just dust from outdoors either, there are dust mites and demodex mites that can cause us health issues. For the area you sleep in I would custom cut to fit one of the mattress pads that are designed to prevent dust mites from getting into the mattress. That way you can just toss it into the washing machine when you go to the laundry which will cut down on your chore time since you won't have to vacuum the cushions as often. It might not be as pretty as upholstery but it sure will be more practical for full time living out close to nature with the windows open in a dusty area.

I am making special toppers for my couch/bed that act both as additional soft top cushioning and a washable mattress pad but will look attractive in the daytime as part of the coordinated upholstery with a complimentary fabric rather than looking like a mattress pad meant to be hidden under bed sheets. For those I have found a product called Nufoam at the Joann's fabric stores. It is a fast draining polyester material that has the density of the rubber foam products. It comes in a variety of thicknesses. I might even use this Nufoam product in its thickest 4" version for my primary cushions as it is light weight compared to the standard foam options. The fast draining aspect is a key factor as it means when I take the topper pad sections to the laundry it won't be so difficult to spin dry and it won't take as much time in the dryer either. Fortunately I know how to sew things like cushions, curtains, popup fabrics and even tents so that keeps means I can keep my cost down to just the materials
Search Results at Joann.com | Jo-Ann
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Old 04-17-2017, 01:05 AM   #17
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Some interesting comments here folks. I worked a lot of years as a professional microbiologist, specializing in infection control. I would be the one to go into a hospital, nursing home, meat packing plant or waste water treatment plant when they had a problem.
First you need a source of inoculation for the organisms to come from. Fecal coliform from manure from animals, especially pork and chicken are the most common. Then you need a route of transmission such as unwashed hands or standing water to spread the contamination. Exposure usually occurs from such things as eating with improperly washed hands, dishes, utensils etc. or inadvertently putting fingers in your mouth to bite nails etc.
Use soap and water to wash your hands often. Disinfect dishes and utensils with HOT water and a germicidal soap (dish detergent) especially after handling raw meats. Keep your unit as clean as possible, again soap and water to deny these organisms an opportunity to multiply. Fill your water containers with chlorinated water from a municipal water source. Once the container is opened use it that day or boil it. Use disposal latex gloves when accessing your grey and black water tanks and discard them when finished. Always wash your hands after you take them off.
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Old 04-17-2017, 01:37 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
You can buy a box of 100 latex gloves for less than $20. Peel them off and dispose.
That will do you for fifty visits to the sanidump.
Gets even better Glenn, Harbor Freight, $7.99 on sale for a 100
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Old 04-17-2017, 08:09 AM   #19
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Oh good now I can add dust mites to the list

I definitely do not vacuum out my upholstery often enough.

Sounds like the same protocols that go for a normal kitchen and bathroom go for our trailers, except that part of my point is that all our systems are so close together, if not in the same room, that it makes contamination easier. But being conscious of keeping hands and surfaces clean sounds like is enough.

I always use disposable gloves for the tanks. I know I could be more careful even then, since sometimes while I'm draining the tanks, I'll go inside to check the levels or for whatever reason touch something else.

Anyway, it's just like anything...you want just a high enough level of paranoia to keep from getting in trouble, but a low enough level that it doesn't affect your fun.
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Old 04-17-2017, 02:28 PM   #20
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widgetwizard...


seems like some of us are waiting out the weather and the first gatherings/planned outings...another few weeks and we'll all be off traveling.


if you've ever had the norovirus (I have) you find out that you, too, can leap a twin bed in a single bound to get to a bathroom...and you find out how much un-safed cash the room stewards can steal while you're on an IV in the ship's hospital.


And you'll be so sick you don't really care.


So asking about it isn't unreasonable.


I'd go with those who point out that sunlight and fresh air are VERY effective at helping de-germ/de-virus a space. Also elbow grease and plain soap may be better in the long run than super disinfectants--those leave only the super-bugs to breed! Lots of water, soap, and rubbing (and excellent DRYING) can remove most (at least 90%) of all he bugs at random, leaving weaker ones as well as the few exceptionally resistant. (According to a friend who is an RN at a local hospital).


FIRE will kill everything...but doesn't that seem extreme?


Happy trails to all, and may you fall prey to NOTHING!


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Old 04-17-2017, 02:32 PM   #21
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"Always wash your hands after you take them off."


Yes, of course you meant the disposable gloves, but as a stand-alone sentence, this was a hoot.


Thanks for a good chuckle!


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Old 04-17-2017, 02:46 PM   #22
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I'm already there! Not in travel mode, but I've moved into my camper for the summer. It's looking like I'll be using it even more intensely than last summer, so more things are on my mind that weren't before.

Last summer I had showers at work. So far this summer, it's looking like a lot of showers in the camper. And I'm starting to cook more like I cook at home. Instead of simple, non-messy, one-dish meals, I'm using more kinds of food and getting more dishes dirty. Much heavier use in the camper. So I'll definitely take every opportunity I can, whenever I'm out of it for a few days or more, to really clean it and air it out.

I know Mike knows more about this than me, but I also avoid anti-bacterial soap. A hospital is one thing, but for my home...I just keep things clean and try not to create super-bugs and keep my immune system strong and used to fighting stuff.
I try not to over sanitize my life.
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Old 04-17-2017, 02:59 PM   #23
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So many good points-- once you open water, use it within a day--did not know that. Dust mites--yes; launder what you can and vacuum the heck out of the rest. Handling of black hoses and tanks etc. be aware of what you're doing, of course--dispose of those disposable gloves...and wash your hands frequently--that was how I caught the norovirus, touching hand rails and an ice sculpture and then eating without washing my hands...assume that NOTHING is clean and wash frequently!


Excellent topic, timely, thanks!


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Old 04-17-2017, 03:48 PM   #24
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I know Mike knows more about this than me, but I also avoid anti-bacterial soap. A hospital is one thing, but for my home...I just keep things clean and try not to create super-bugs and keep my immune system strong and used to fighting stuff.
I try not to over sanitize my life.
We also avoid anti bacterial hand , laundry and dish soaps .
We recently had to have our septic system repaired .
The contractor mentioned that he is seeing more and more septic issues corresponding to the large increase in the use of anti bacterial cleaners and bleach. Septic system need bacteria to break down the waste and prevent drain fields from clogging.
To replace my septic system would cost between $10 to $15 K
I do believe that cleanliness is important , but I am going to achieve it with hot water and plain old soap.
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Old 04-17-2017, 04:08 PM   #25
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I sort of disregarded the water thing but it definitely deserves more of a look...what's up with that? I fill a couple 3-gallon containers from a local mountain spring for drinking water. Each one lasts me a few days. It definitely gets opened and closed back up repeatedly.

Yes, anti-bacterial...The same reason I avoid taking antibiotics unless absolutely necessary. It clears them all out, the bad and the good. And we need the good bacteria to function. No big deal for most of us who only need them maybe at most once a year, but I know some people who take them every couple months, and I know a lot of doctors still overprescribe them. I'd still rather live in a society where I can take a pill rather than die, but it comes with its own, admittedly "first-world", problems...

Anyway...
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Old 04-17-2017, 11:12 PM   #26
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The raising of good points continues. This is a good thing! I always encourage this when addressing any situation where exposure to "biohazards is identified. The best long term solution to avoid a recurrence is the awareness fostered by discussion and understanding of what is really happening. As with most situations related to exposure to hazards, "ignorance" is the problem and knowledge the solution.

Some Additional Information for Consideration:

Vacuuming removes "particles from surfaces" but is much less effective for particles contained within soft surfaces like upholstery because the air flow "through" these materials is usually insufficient to entrain dust particles. Dust particles often have bacteria, which are much smaller, attached to their surfaces. Unless the vacuum has a HEPA filter, many of the smaller particles and hence the bacteria, pass right through the filter so the vacuum acts to "spread" the hazard.
Soap and water is more effective as it penetrates soft surfaces to better remove and inactivate the bacteria without dispersing them through the air and fostering their spread.

The norovirus (norwalk virus) is the most common cause of gastointestinal disease characterized by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea etc. It is a faecal (sewage) organism. It is transmitted by direct contact from an infected person or a surface they have touched, ingestion of contaminated food or water etc. Outbreaks occur on ships, in hospitals and other institutions because people are in close contact with each other and this aids transfer if someone is sick. One infected employee at a restaurant can spread the organism to many via the food they prepare.

Many organisms are susceptible to sunlight but for this to happen the sunlight must contact the organism directly for a sufficient period of time and with sufficient intensity. Subsurface organisms won't be affected.

Soap and water is very effective at removing organisms and the debris that contains them to levels sufficiently low to reduce the chances if infection. It "sanitizes" but usually does not "sterilize". This means it is effective in some applications but not all. Sanitizing is acceptable for most situations but in others, for example norovirus, Ecoli, salmonella etc. reducing the numbers of organisms may not be sufficient.

"Super Bugs" are actually resistant species. All bugs compete for nutrients etc. so that a number of types are usually present, some harmful, some not harmful. Some antibiotics, sanitizers etc. eliminate the weaker organisms, but not the more resistant ones who can now multiply quickly without competition from the organisms killed. Their higher level of resistance makes them more difficult to treat. This is a problem if they are the harmful organisms.

Soap and water is preferred over "antibacterial" soaps in most situations. They reduce bacterial numbers sufficiently to be effective, are less offensive to skin surfaces and allow beneficial organisms to remain. Antibacterial soaps would be better to wash your hands after dumping your sewer tank or to clean up surfaces exposed to raw meat.

Chlorine bleach is an excellent disinfectant. It isn't usually necessary in your black water tank. Black water contains both pathogenic (disease-causing) as well as other organisms such as those which digest sewage components. Chlorine will kill ALL these organisms. The pathogens will be addressed during the sewage digestion process. Chlorine can also damage the components of your trailer's sewage system resulting in expensive repairs.

Water from a municipal source is chlorinated. The chlorine residue inhibits bacterial growth. It will dissipate over time. As long as the bottle remains sealed bacteria can't get in so the lack of chlorine usually isn't an issue. Once the bottle is opened bacteria may get in. If they multiply you may have a problem. Using it within a day minimizes this potential. Otherwise boil it just in case. Water boils in a few minutes, stomach flu lasts for days.

In theory, fresh spring water filtered from an underground source may be safe to drink. In practice, such water is rare. All surface water and much subsurface water is contaminated with faecal organisms from cattle, wild animals etc. Beaver fever is a common example. If you drink this water or bathe in it you are likely to get sick.

Bacterial hazards shouldn't be feared but they should be respected. Camping is much more enjoyable without vomiting and diarrhea!

Happy Trails!
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Old 04-17-2017, 11:25 PM   #27
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Excellent post Mike.
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Old 04-18-2017, 07:58 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Borrego Dave View Post
Gets even better Glenn, Harbor Freight, $7.99 on sale for a 100
+10 I keep a few boxes in my workshop. I prefer the blue nitrile gloves over latex, still about $8. This thread has convinced me, the permanent gloves in the camper are going in the garbage and will be replaced with a box of disposables!
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