According to Gillian Hodgson, an infection control nurse at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Holy water can be dangerous. She told nurses at a Royal College of Nursing Congress fringe meeting about a child in a paediatric oncology unit who developed the bacterial infection pseudomonas after his lips were wiped with holy water. Nursing Standard (April 25) reports that holy water sprinkled on or near intravenous catheter sites can also be dangerous, particularly for patients who are immuno-compromised . Holy water has also been causing problems for patients in Bradford. Gwen Horn, a ward manager at the city’s Cygnet Hospital, told nurses about a mental health inpatient whose behaviour was worse after his family brought in sealed bottles of blessed water for him to drink. The water was analysed and found to be spiked with drugs, she told the delegates. After a risk assessment and consultation with a local imam the nurses were told that the water was not necessary for the patient’s wellbeing and the bottles were confiscated, the magazine reports. Concern was also raised by a number of nurses at the meeting that the sharing of ablution cans, for washing, or wudhu, by Muslim patients could also pose an infection hazard. Moulana Ilyas Dalal, a Muslim chaplain at Dewsbury and District Hospital, advises nurses that when they are faced with problems concerning religious practice they should contact the hospital chaplain or local religious leaders.

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