Are You Prepared for Respiratory Virus Season?

Set infection control protocols and gather PPE

November 6, 2019

As we enter respiratory virus and flu season, it’s best to be prepared with the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety protocols, Infection Control Today reports.

Environmental services workers in health care facilities, as well as professional cleaners in long-term care centers and other locations with ill and immune-compromised residents, need to follow proven methods of infection control during the winter illness months. The first step is to use PPE when cleaning the room of a patient showing respiratory illness symptoms, such as fever, cough, runny nose, and aches. Surgical masks are the standard PPE to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases. Other PPE to consider include disposable gloves and surgical gowns. Along with remembering to put them on, be sure to remove them correctly as well.

The second critical step to follow during respiratory virus season, as well as all year long, is strict compliance to hand hygiene. Although alcohol-based hand sanitizer has been effective in reducing disease-causing germs, many workers forget that washing with soap and water is just as critical, if not more so. Infection control specialists recommend that for every five to seven times staff use hand gel, they should wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water to get rid of pathogens that can only be removed through the friction of scrubbing.

Hand washing is especially important as a recent study found ethanol-based hand sanitizers have limited efficacy against pathogens found in mucus.

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