Corona virus – Preventive measures are need of hour
Time and again, mankind has gone through lots of challenges due to various natural calamities, warfare and by various diseases. In the present day, few parts of the world is facing huge threat due to the novel Corona virus and now we have few confirmed and suspected cases in our country too. It is high time we understand the nature of disease and do our best to prevent the occurrence of disease in our surrounding, may it be the workplace or household.
What is Corona virus ?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Most recently discovered one is the COVID 19.
Signs and symptoms and risk factors:
In order to suspect, the signs and symptoms and risk factors for COVID 19 infection are: symptoms similar to flu like diseases which can be fever, cough and shortness of breath. Patients may also report a trip to china or a close contact with someone who travelled to china in the recent days.
How does it spread?
People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.
WHO is assessing ongoing research on the ways COVID-19 is spread and will continue to share updated findings.
Role of dental professional:
- Being doctors it is a great responsibility to practice necessary precautions with regard to patients and self-safety as well.
- For the oral health professionals, Indian Dental Association has released infection prevention and control (IPC) guidance as per the directions of world health organization. Similar guidelines have been released by various organizations like American Dental Association (ADA), Center for Disease Control (CDC) and so on.
- As dental professionals, we can follow few principles of infection prevention and control in our work setting. First and foremost is the clinical triage, that is early recognition and appropriate referral to proper hospital setting. Health professionals need to adopt a high level clinical suspicion, introduce screening questionnaire regarding any history of travel to any country or state that has reported cases of coronavirus.
- Dental professionals need promote hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene and include cough etiquette.
- Further, health professionals need to apply standard precautions for all patients, which includes use of eye/ facial protection, use of clean, non-sterile long sleeved fluid resistant gown, use of gloves, covering nose while sneezing or coughing, perform hand hygiene before and after every patient.
- WHO has provided a guideline for hand hygiene which is called as My 5 moments for hand hygiene approach that includes, before touching patient, before any clean or aseptic procedure performed, after exposure to body fluid, after touching patient and after touching patients surroundings.
- Along with this use of proper personal protective equipment will help in reducing spread of pathogens.
There are few other contact and droplet precautionary measures that can be followed:
- Use triple layered medical mask or he N95 respirator of recommended specifications.
- Follow proper disinfection and sterilization protocols for the instruments and equipment
- Refrain from touching eyes, nose or mouth with potentially contaminated hands.
- Routinely clean and disinfect the patient contact surfaces.
- Most of dental procedures generate aerosols which Is associated with risk of transmission, so it is advised to follow all the precautions while performing such procedures.
- Room must be adequately ventilated and limit the number of persons required in the room for patient care and support.
- Precautions are to be followed for procedures involving patient specimens and impressions. They should be appropriately disinfected and even the laboratory personnel’s must follow the given guidelines.
Respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette inflection control measures along with contact precautions are currently recommended for preventing transmission of the disease in dental health care setting. All the major organizations including WHO and other governmental organizations are closely monitoring the current situation. Since this is an evolving situation health providers and general public need to be cautioned and follow appropriate measures to prevent the disease. Let us all work together for a healthy society and overcome the situation. Take care, stay healthy.