Swine Flu which is invading the world like an epidemic has become a great problem for the medical as well as the dental professionals who are in constant contact with many different kinds of patients with variety of conditions.
First lets know what H1N1/ Swine Flu is:
What is H1N1 Flu?
H1N1 flu is caused by type A strains of the influenza virus, and is being described as a new subtype of A/H1N1 not previously detected in swine or humans.
What are the Symptoms?
Those carrying the virus can reveal typical flu-like symptoms:
- Fever (greater than 100ºF)
- Head and body aches
- Stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Vomiting and diarrhea
More serious illnesses such as pneumonia or respiratory illness have also been reported.
So ADA has given some Guidelines for the Prevention/ precautionary measures to be taken by Dental Professionals.
Infection control issues during patient assessment:
- Patients with an acute respiratory illness should be identified at check-in and placed in a single-patient room with the door kept closed.
- Offer a disposable surgical mask to persons who are coughing, or provide tissues and no-touch receptacles for used tissue disposal.
- The ill person should wear a surgical mask when outside the patient room.
- Dental healthcare personnel assessing a patient with influenza-like illness should wear disposable surgical facemask*, non-sterile gloves, gown, and eye protection (e.g., goggles) to prevent direct skin and conjunctival exposure. These recommendations may change as additional information becomes available.
- Patient and dental healthcare workers should perform hand hygiene (e.g., hand washing with non-antimicrobial soap and water, alcohol-based hand rub, or antiseptic handwash) after having contact with respiratory secretions and contaminated objects/materials.
- Routine cleaning and disinfection strategies used during influenza seasons can be applied to the environmental management of swine influenza.