Hopefully, the day will never come when you are faced with the responsibility to arrange for decomposing body cleanup. Odds are you will not face such a tragic duty. With that said, as it is with many things in life, you are best served having a basic understanding the inherent dangers and risks of decomposing body cleanup – as well as what you need to do in such situation to address the situation and keep yourself safe in the process.
In coming to an essential understanding of the inherent hazards of decomposing body cleanup, a number of crucial points must be discussed:
- Situations in which everyday folks confront decomposing body cleanup
- Basic understanding of the human decomposition process
- Physical dangers associated with decomposing body cleanup
- Emotional risks associated with decomposing body cleanup
Incidents and Situations in Which You Might Face the Need for Decomposing Body Cleanup
If you are like most people, you may be wondering “how in the world will I ever be in a position to need assistance with decomposing body cleanup?” That is a fair question.
The most common set of circumstances in which a person like you faces the prospect of cleanup of a decomposing body involves the unattended death of a family member. An unattended death is one in which a person dies alone and whose remains are not discovered for at least some period of time. For example, a person might have an elderly family member that they do visit with somewhat regularly. However, a number of days or even weeks may pass between contact. That is a normal course at this juncture in the 21st century.
If an elderly relative passes away at home, his or her remains might not be discovered for a matter of days, or perhaps even longer. The human decomposition process is discussed in a bit more detail in a moment. At this point, it is important to note that human decomposition is a process that moves rapidly. In a matter of a few days, a death scene can be at a juncture that what technically is known as biohazardous contamination has occurred, a situation requiring undertaking a challenging, multifaceted cleanup process.
Essential Overview of the Human Decomposition Process
When a person dies, his or her body actually is teaming with life. The human decomposition process commences at the moment a person dies. At the heart of human decomposition are billions of bacteria that ultimately will “consume” human remains, unless the process is significantly slowed down through embalming.
Initially after death, the bacteria that ultimately will fuel the overall human decomposition process is located in a deceased person’s intestines and pancreas. Within a couple of days following death, bacteria in the gut will have consumed the organs in which they have been contained, causing these bacteria to flow throughout the remains.
Within a week following death, contaminated bodily fluids that can present risks to the health of others begin to flow from a body. This process contaminates the scene of a person’s death. In addition, foul smelling gasses (that can also adversely impact living people who come into contact with remains) are emitted into the air at the scene.
Physical Dangers of Decomposing Body Cleanup
As mentioned a moment ago, dangerous pathogens – viruses and bacteria – are released during the decomposition process. Because of the presence of these hazardous pathogens, a person undertaking decomposing body cleanup is exposed to them. Consequently, appropriate personal protective equipment is required to protect an individual involved in cleanup from infection by dangerous viruses or bacteria that can be present at the death scene.
Examples of viruses and bacteria that can be conveyed via human blood and other bodily fluids include:
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
Professional decomposing body cleanup services are in the best position to protect against the spread of these and other types of hazardous pathogens.
Emotional Dangers of Decomposing Body Cleanup
A sometimes overlooked but very real hazard associated with decomposing body cleanup is the adverse emotional and even mental health impact this type of cleaning can have on a person. Professional decomposing body cleanup specialists who face these tough assignments with at least some regularity recognize the emotional impact this work presents. The impact is far more profound if loved ones of a deceased person elect to undertake decomposing body cleanup on their own.
Because of the challenging of this type of cleaning, coupled with the inherently dreadful of the decomposition process, loved ones of a deceased person are strongly discouraged from ever undertaking decomposing body cleanup on their own. An unequivocal recommendation is made for loved ones to hire a decomposing body cleanup professional.
Not only can cleaning up a space that contained a decomposing body be emotionally devastating for family members and other loved ones, undertaking such an endeavor can result in profound, pervasive, and persistent mental health issues. These include:
- Traumatic grief