Controlling the spread of Swine flu in health facilities

All healthcare workers need to be familiar with pandemic preparedness in their local work places. They need to plan and clearly understand their role in containing and reducing the impact of the potential challenge that swine flu presents.

All healthcare workers need to be familiar with pandemic preparedness in their local work places. They need to plan and clearly understand their role in containing and reducing the impact of the potential challenge that swine flu presents.

Clinically known as Influenza A, H1N1, the swine flu virus is still present in Rwanda. It has so far been contained and of the 111 cases that were confirmed, 108 have recovered after treatment.

However four new cases have been identified in Rubavu district in the Northern Province. 

No one has died yet and this means everyone needs to be confident in playing their part in ensuring effective care for patients, while at the same time protecting others and themselves from infection.

As large numbers of seriously ill people with flu will require hospital admission, consistently applying clinically effective infection prevention and control measures is essential in protecting all patients from possible transmission of influenza viruses.

These control measures are required comprehensively in situations where the swine flu pandemic is serious, most especially in hospitals.

All healthcare providers working in sensitive care areas, need to be completely familiar with important preventive guidelines in order to consistently incorporate them into routine clinical practice.

Isolation
Standard infection control principles must be used where patients have or are suspected of having swine flu. For example good hand hygiene among staff and patients is vital to protect both groups.

Some measures include ideally placing patients with swine flu in single rooms and in segregated area.  Where patients are grouped and isolated on the basis of epidemiological and clinical information rather than on laboratory-confirmed diagnosis, beds should be at least one meter apart.

Since influenza viruses are predominantly transmitted by large respiratory droplets and contact with hands and surfaces contaminated by these droplets, special ventilation is not necessary.

The doors of segregated areas can remain open unless a patient is being isolated in a single room for another reason in addition to swine flu which requires the doors to be shut.

Domestic staff should be allocated to specific areas and not moved between swine flu and non-swine flu infected areas.

Again, fluid repellent surgical masks should be worn by healthcare workers for any close contact with patients for example those with in the range of one meter.

These masks provide a physical barrier and minimize contamination of the nose and mouth by respiratory droplets from patients.

Disposable respirators that provide the highest possible protection factor should be worn to carry out important procedures to overcome swine flu.

Cleaning
Environmental cleaning and disinfection in hospitals will avoid disease spread. Freshly prepared neutral detergents and warm water should be used for cleaning the hospital or other healthcare environments.

Frequently touched surfaces such as medical equipment and door handles should be cleaned at least twice daily.

People staying or working at home must be trained in correct methods of using personal protective equipment and precautions to take when cleaning affected areas.

They should wear gloves and aprons, and when cleaning in the immediate patient environment, they should also wear a surgical mask.

If possible, equipments should be used once while non-disposable equipment should be decontaminated or laundered after use.

Any spillage or contamination of the environment with secretions, excretions or body fluids should be treated.

josephmunich06@yahoo.co.uk Controlling the spread of Swine flu in health facilities
BY JOSEPH KAMUGISHA

All healthcare workers need to be familiar with pandemic preparedness in their local work places. They need to plan and clearly understand their role in containing and reducing the impact of the potential challenge that swine flu presents.
Clinically known as Influenza A, H1N1, the swine flu virus is still present in Rwanda. It has so far been contained and of the 111 cases that were confirmed, 108 have recovered after treatment. However four new cases have been identified in Rubavu district in the Northern Province. 
No one has died yet and this means everyone needs to be confident in playing their part in ensuring effective care for patients, while at the same time protecting others and themselves from infection.
As large numbers of seriously ill people with flu will require hospital admission, consistently applying clinically effective infection prevention and control measures is essential in protecting all patients from possible transmission of influenza viruses.
These control measures are required comprehensively in situations where the swine flu pandemic is serious, most especially in hospitals.
All healthcare providers working in sensitive care areas, need to be completely familiar with important preventive guidelines in order to consistently incorporate them into routine clinical practice.

Isolation
Standard infection control principles must be used where patients have or are suspected of having swine flu. For example good hand hygiene among staff and patients is vital to protect both groups.
Some measures include ideally placing patients with swine flu in single rooms and in segregated area.  Where patients are grouped and isolated on the basis of epidemiological and clinical information rather than on laboratory-confirmed diagnosis, beds should be at least one meter apart.
Since influenza viruses are predominantly transmitted by large respiratory droplets and contact with hands and surfaces contaminated by these droplets, special ventilation is not necessary. The doors of segregated areas can remain open unless a patient is being isolated in a single room for another reason in addition to swine flu which requires the doors to be shut.
Domestic staff should be allocated to specific areas and not moved between swine flu and non-swine flu infected areas.
Again, fluid repellent surgical masks should be worn by healthcare workers for any close contact with patients for example those with in the range of one meter. These masks provide a physical barrier and minimize contamination of the nose and mouth by respiratory droplets from patients.
Disposable respirators that provide the highest possible protection factor should be worn to carry out important procedures to overcome swine flu.

Cleaning
Environmental cleaning and disinfection in hospitals will avoid disease spread. Freshly prepared neutral detergents and warm water should be used for cleaning the hospital or other healthcare environments.
Frequently touched surfaces such as medical equipment and door handles should be cleaned at least twice daily.
People staying or working at home must be trained in correct methods of using personal protective equipment and precautions to take when cleaning affected areas. They should wear gloves and aprons, and when cleaning in the immediate patient environment, they should also wear a surgical mask.
If possible, equipments should be used once while non-disposable equipment should be decontaminated or laundered after use. Any spillage or contamination of the environment with secretions, excretions or body fluids should be treated.

josephmunich06@yahoo.co.uk

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