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Acute-care H1N1 flu guidelines updated

With the H1N1 flu pandemic expected to return with a vengeance this fall, and with a vaccine not predicted to be ready until later in the season, the Public Health Agency of Canada has revised its guidelines for physicians and other health professionals working in acute-care clinics and emergency departments to try to keep the virus's spread under control.

Most of the agency's recommendations will not come as a surprise: masks, gloves, hand-washing, hands-free trash cans, isolation of suspected cases, and so on all the way up to N95 respirators and the use of eye protection as "droplet precautions."

But there is one stipulation, under the "source control" section of the guidelines, that bears emphasizing: "Remove magazines and toys from the waiting rooms to reduce potential contact exposure."

Haven't the media suffered enough, with all the buyouts, layoffs, hiring freezes and newspapers and magazines declaring bankruptcy? And now the H1N1 flu, already a threat to global health, has become the latest threat to publishing solvency as well.

In all seriousness, though, physicians, clinic managers and hospital administrators may not recognize the dangers presented by years-old copies of Sports Illustrated or Maclean's and those mesmerizing balls-on-cables toys doctors seem to love (see right). And while that may sound silly, it may be the difference between safe operations and rampant infections throughout your clinic.

Read the full text of the guidelines here. Other recently revised guidelines for health workers in longterm care facilities and emergency response workers are available here.

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1 comments:

  1. sharon31 July, 2009 8:39 AM

    Here is a good one-stop connection to all information on world health issues, alerts and warnings for infectious disease:

    http://www.healthmap.org/en

    We can easily see that the H1N1 virus is prevalent enough that as people "cluster" outbreaks occur.

    Related dialogue gives clues that we are reaching a " tipping point" where some claim 1 in 3 people will get this flu before the end of this year.

    Considering all of this physicians should be eliminating "waiting rooms" .......Period...... not just their contents.

    Quick triage and transfer of patients to cubicles or reassignment of times and locations will provide the same benefits as quarantine.

    Essentially, now the patients must be protecting themselves from each other as they " cluster" while waiting to see the physician.....not just the magazines and toys that they touch.

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