Take precautions—influenza is in our community

Influenza (flu) activity is increasing in Iowa, and we have had staff and patients in the hospital who have influenza.

Please follow the prevention recommendations below to protect your patients, your colleagues, and yourself from influenza.

If you have questions, contact the Program of Hospital Epidemiology at 319-356-1606 or page 3158.

Symptoms

  • Temperature of 100º F [37.8º C] or greater and
  • Cough and/or sore throat

Prevention

Standard Precautions for all patients
  • Perform hand hygiene before and after contact with patients, patients’ environment, and after removing gloves.
  • Wear gloves when you touch respiratory secretions or contaminated environmental surfaces.
  • Wear, gloves, masks, and eyewear during respiratory specimen collection (nasal washings, tracheal aspirates, throat or nasopharyngeal swabs).
  • Offer masks to persons who are coughing or report fever or sore throat.
Isolation
  • Place patients with influenza or influenza-like illness into droplet precautions. This will prevent exposures to patients and staff.
  • Follow droplet precautions for any patient who has a respiratory panel ordered until a diagnosis is made.
  • Pediatric patients with ILI are placed in contact and droplet precautions per department specific policies.
Ill visitors
  • Persons with influenza-like symptoms should not visit patients. (Exception: Ill parents visiting children must wear a mask.)
Ill health care personnel
  • DO NOT come to work if you have a fever (temperature of 100º F [37.8º C] or greater) or an influenza-like illness. Do not come back to work until you have been fever free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medicine.
  • Wear a surgical mask if you have upper respiratory symptoms (cough, runny nose, sore throat) without fever.
  • It is possible to catch and spread the flu even if you have been vaccinated. If you develop influenza-like symptoms, you may wish to see your health care provider because some treatments are helpful if started in the first two days of illness.
Exposures
  • If you are concerned you were exposed to someone with influenza at work please notify your supervisor who will work with the Program of Hospital Epidemiology (page 3158) to determine if follow-up is indicated.
  • Please see Policy IC-04.000 Management Procedures for Routine Communicable Disease Exposures for additional information.

See also:

 

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