Infection Control Guidelines

Infection prevention in your facility

 

In the event of an outbreak, health systems will most likely be overwhelmed and understaffed. It will be critical to limit nosocomial spread of the virus to protect healthcare workers, prevent the hospital from being a disease amplifier and protect non-flu patients from infection. Employing strict infection control precautions will help contain the spread of the virus in the facility.

Preventing the Spread

If the H5N1 virus mutates into a strain that's easily transmissible among humans, it could spread very rapidly. Like the seasonal human influenza, modes of transmission include inhalation of droplets created by coughing, sneezing, or speaking, or by coming in contact with droplets from surfaces and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes. There is also some evidence that an avian-human hybrid virus could be spread via airborne transmission of droplet nuclei. Scientists are continuing research in this area to better understand the modes of transmission and more effectively prevent its spread.

Patient Care

Infection Control

Incubation period: The time between human exposure and onset of illness (incubation period) is usually 3 days (range 2 to 4 days).

Symptoms: Symptoms are usually those of a typical flu with fever, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches being the most prominent. However, some patients have presented with eye infections, severe diarrhea, acute respiratory distress, pneumonia, encephalitis or other severe and life-threatening complications.

Anti-viral agents: Anti-viral drugs are normally used on infected patients and on individuals thought to be exposed. It is critical that the anti-viral drugs be given promptly after onset of symptoms to be effective (usually about 48 hours). This may be difficult due to the rapid progress of avian flu and the similarity of initial symptoms to those of other less harmful illnesses.

  • Post visual alerts for patients and visitors
  • Encourage respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette:
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Put your used tissue in the waste basket.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
  • You may be asked to put on a facemask to protect others.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

Hand Hygiene

Hand hygiene is perhaps the most critical element in preventing the transfer of microorganisms to the environment or to other people. Perform hand hygiene after touching blood, body fluids, secretions, excretions, and contaminated items, whether or not gloves are worn. Perform hand hygiene immediately after gloves are removed, between patient contacts, and when otherwise indicated to avoid transfer of microorganisms to other patients.

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Infection Control Guidelines
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