It’s flu season: What to know about influenza prevention and control
We’re at the peak of flu season.
Since many symptoms of influenza are non-specific, it’s possible that the patient you are treating may have the flu virus without any noticeable symptoms. The spread of the flu can occur among patients, your dental team and yourself.
Here are five major components that should be part of your infection control program, according to the ADA Center for Professional Success.
- Education and training: Annual education and training around occupational exposure to potentially infectious agents and infection-control procedures is an important aspect of an infection control program. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a PowerPoint available online called Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health-Care Settings.
- Immunization: Annual vaccinations are a critical part of limiting exposure and deciphering from other communicable diseases. Consider covering the cost of vaccination for your team, or providing vaccinations in the office during work hours.
- Sterilization: Proper and consistent sterilization practices of all materials in contact or in close proximity to patients are paramount. Verify that your sterilization methods and equipment meet compliance standards.
- Exposure prevention and post-exposure management: Make sure your practice is screening symptomatic patients. Develop etiquette regarding respiratory hygiene and coughing. Placing cough etiquette reminders in the waiting area and the staff operatory can be helpful.
- Policy on work-related illness: Encourage patients to seek preventative and curative care, and to report signs or symptoms of illness. Create a work environment that does not punish employees for illness.