- OSHA Healthcare Advisor - http://blogs.hcpro.com/osha -

CDC issues revised guidelines for flu prevention

With flu season on the rise, it’s becoming more important for healthcare settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, and doctors’ offices to receive vaccination for their workers.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) released a series of guidelines this month with updates on controlling the influenza virus. According to the CDC, preventing the spread of the virus includes proper hand hygiene, managing sick health care workers, following all infection control safety measures, and distributing the vaccine.

One update, “Prevention Strategies for Seasonal Influenza in Healthcare Settings [1],” offers information on facemasks and respirators, including offering face masks to patients with influenza-like-illnesses, and instructing healthcare workers with fever and respiratory symptoms “not to report to work, or if at work, to stop patient-care activities, don a facemask, and promptly notify their supervisor and infection control personnel/occupational health before leaving work.”

The CDC also recommends that when a healthcare worker goes into a patient’s room with signs or confirmed influenza, they must wear a facemask, throw it away after use, and then wash their hands.

Respirators work a bit differently than a facemask.  Though it is worn on your face covering the nose and mouth, its purpose is to decrease inhalation of harmful airborne germs, gases, and any other hazardous material.  Healthcare workers must wear respirators during the use of aerosol procedures such as bronchoscopy, sputum induction, elective intubation and extubation, according to the CDC.

CDC updates will be provided as new information becomes available. More information on influenza prevention, treatment, and control can be found on the CDC’s influenza website. [2]

Click here for a series of guidelines [3]