During the 2015-2016 flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calculated that 310,000 individuals were hospitalized with a flu-related illness. The flu season can begin as early as October and last as late as May. In particular, hospital employees, patients, and visitors are at a heightened risk for catching the flu virus. Here are a few tips to prevent the spread of the flu in your hospital.
1. Routinely clean, disinfect, and sanitize high touch areas
The flu virus travels through the air in droplets, which can be picked up from an object or surface and transferred to the eyes, nose, or mouth. To prevent the spread of the flu virus, high touch areas such as counters, door handles, and bed rails should be routinely cleaned, disinfected, and sanitized.
- Cleaning removes germs. Use soap and water to physically remove germs from surfaces and objects.
- Disinfecting kills germs. Use approved chemicals to kill germs that may be living on surfaces and objects.
- Sanitizing reduces the number of germs.Either clean or disinfect surfaces and objects to lower the risk of spreading infection.
2. Wear proper protective equipment
Custodians come in contact with a wealth of germs in a hospital, including the flu virus. Ensure your custodians wear proper protective equipment when cleaning dirty surfaces, handling garbage, and performing other tasks. They should also wear a face mask and gloves when cleaning to create a barrier between themselves and potentially infected areas. Custodians should also be encouraged to avoid touching their eyes or nose and to wash their hands frequently.
3. Ensure everyone who enters the hospital follows standard precautions
Individuals hospitalized for a flu-related illness present a risk for transmitting the virus to employees, other patients, and visitors. As a result, prevention and standard precautions are even more important. Everyone in your hospital should be reminded of proper hand hygiene techniques through visible signage. Gloves and gowns should also be available for anyone who may have to come in contact with a patient with the flu virus. A physician may place a patient under droplet precautions, which requires additional protective wear such as a face mask.
Prevention is key when it comes to stopping the flu virus from wreaking havoc in your hospital. For more tips, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.