How Sanitary is a Doctor’s Office?

When visiting a medical office for shots or a physical, have you ever questioned whether you should go? When you arrive, you are likely to sit in a waiting room for a little while around people who are sick. When you consider this, it may feel difficult to justify the visit, especially if you have kids at home or someone with a compromised immune system. 

While there is risk of getting sick at the doctor’s office, the risk is actually relatively low, and there are steps that you can take to help protect yourself. 

Here are several reasons why you should feel comfortable going to the doctor, even during flu season. 


A doctor’s office is actually very clean because of how much cleaning and sanitation is done.

As soon as the office opens, employees have to sanitize all of the equipment they use. This is done with a chemical called ethylene oxide, which kills all types of germs and bacteria. The office also sterilizes all of their instruments after they have been used. Any germs on them are killed by steam or some form of heat or cleaner.

The next thing that happens is an air quality test. This test ensures that there are no harmful gasses in the air such as carbon monoxide or other harmful chemicals such as asbestos or mold spores. 

By doing all of this on a regular basis, germs and bacteria are unable to survive for extended amounts of time.

Open Spaces

Have you ever noticed that the waiting room is normally pretty large with plenty of space to sit? This is done on purpose. During Covid, we all learned that social distancing is six feet or more. While Covid is what made everyone think about social distancing, the six foot rule has been around for a long time.

Waiting rooms have chairs arranged in a way that you shouldn’t be closer than six feet to someone. You will then get your own examination room, which has been cleaned and sanitized between patients.

Not Everyone is Sick

While there are no official statistics on how many patients go to the doctor when they are sick, it’s reasonable to assume that a very high percentage go to the doctor when they aren’t sick. Some of the common reasons people go to the doctor include:

  • Physicals and annual checkups
  • Vaccines 
  • Follow up visits following a sickness
  • Injuries
  • Pregnancy visits
  • Non-contagious medical issues (migraines, skin issues, cholesterol)
  • Medication visits 

It isn’t unreasonable to conclude that in a waiting room of ten people (again with plenty of social distancing), that only three or four of them are sick with something contagious, particularly if many of the visitors are older. 


Knowing this information will hopefully ease your mind when visiting a doctor’s office, even if you don’t feel sick. While there is no way to guarantee you won’t get sick, the same can be said about going anywhere in public. The bottom line is that if you need to go to the doctor, regardless of the reason, you can feel confident that it’s safe, sanitary, and will be beneficial for your health