Flu Season Is In Full Force This Year
The flu season is in full force this year. You only need to read the headlines to get an idea of how wide-spread the outbreak is becoming. Hopefully you got your flu shot in time.
Quick Flu Review
Flu-Like Symptoms Include:
- A 100oF or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever)
- A cough and/or sore throat
- A runny or stuffy nose
- Headaches and/or body aches
- Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea (most common in children)
Body Substance Isolation
It was drummed into your head during EMT school by reciting the mantra. “BSI, Scene Safe” over and over. Well, body substance isolation is extremely critical and was designed to protect you, your partner, your patient, and your family from being exposed to harmful diseases. So BSI is critical when handling any patient, especially patients that present with flu-like symptoms.
Here are a few tips to make sure you are properly protected:
- Don Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) prior to entering scene.
- Disposable gowns, gloves, goggles/face shields and masks.
- When possible, minimize the number of providers who have contact with patient’s exhibiting flu-like symptoms.
- Place a surgical mask on all patients with suspected symptoms, using non-rebreather masks when oxygen is required.
- Personnel engaged in aerosol generating activities (patient nebulizers, bag-valve-mask, suction, intubation and CPR) for suspected and/or confirmed H1N1 influenza cases need to follow strict droplet precautions including N95 mask, gloves, goggles/face shields, disposable gowns.
The most important and efficient infection prevention measure for all healthcare providers is hand washing.
Once the call is over doesn’t mean the job is done. All equipment that has come in contact with or been within 6 feet of patient must be disinfected with an approved disinfectant upon completion of the call. And make sure to dispose of durable goods (disposable masks, gowns) in approved biohazard containers.
In case you missed it – Wash those hands!!
So never let your guard down and continue to use the BSI at your disposal. If you do not have access to the appropriate BSI then contact the person in charge of supplies at your department and make sure that you get the BSI you need.
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