Guidelines for Controlling Infections

Infection prevention in your facility

 

In the event of a flu outbreak, 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

Seasonal flu, caused by influenza B and some influenza A viruses, is typically not severe in most people, because they are already partially protected by having had a similar flu virus before or an annual flu shot. Pandemic flu, on the other hand, occurs when a strain is so different from previous strains that few people, if any, are immune - enabling it to spread easily from person to person.1

The flu is a highly contagious virus, that can be easily spread by those affected through respiratory or contact transmission various forms of transmission such as coughing and sneezing, even in the period before the person is symptomatic.

Ways in which the influenza virus can be spread from one person to another, through the virus entering a person’s body are:

  • Respiratory spread – Such as aerosol or droplet transmission from the infected person’s breath or fluids, which can spread through exhalation into the other person’s eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Contact spread – The virus can be spread through infecting surfaces or others with their hands after they have touched their own eyes, mouth or nose. Surfaces may include areas on public transport, door knobs, or kitchen surfaces for example.2

Click here for the Pandemic Preparedness Guide for Health Care Facilities.

Patient Care

Methods to limit transmission of both seasonal and pandemic flu include:

  • Hand hygiene
  • Social distancing
  • Cough etiquette
  • Using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).3

Personal Protective Equipment

A carefully planned stockpile of PPE and other essentials is key to effective infectious disease preparedness.4

For healthcare facilities, preparing to handle both seasonal and pandemic flu as well as other types of infectious disease outbreaks, it is important to consider what kind of PPE is needed. Protecting patients, hospital staff and visitors requires the availability and appropriate use of a range of PPE including:

  • N95 respirators
  • Face masks
  • Gowns
  • Gloves.5
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1. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/
2. http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/panflu-clinical-desc-diag-1
3. https://beta.health.gov.au/health-topics/flu-influenza 
4. Guidance on preparing workplaces for an influenza pandemic, OSHA, 2009. 
5. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/infectioncontrol/healthcaresettings.htm

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Guidelines for Controlling Infections