Infection Control & Staying Healthy

Image credit: CDC

The current Ebola crisis in Africa is tragic. The resources, education and tools needed to effectively address this health challenge feels overwhelming and will take a huge, united effort to address.

At the same time, it is critical that we continue to remind ourselves about the importance of infection control and proper use of personal protective equipment in all that we do. For most of us in Oregon, the upcoming multitude of seasonal viruses are of much greater risk for us individually. That said, we must assist our institutions and healthcare providers in 1) identifying potential infection risks (including but not solely Ebola); and, 2) adhere to  stringent infection control best practices.

For those of us outside of patient care, it’s a perfect time to use our next safety meeting as a forum to remind employees about the basics of personal protection, regardless of whether the exposure is chemical or biological. How do you effectively wash your hands? We know most of us don’t do it often enough or effectively. Are you inspecting your personal protective equipment, including your gloves? Certainly we know that a subset of all nitrile gloves arrive with a flaw or hole. What is your sick leave policy? Remind your staff that nobody benefits when we come to work sick. Now is the perfect time to remind your workforce of all things related to staying healthy.

NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topics: Ebola
CDC Safety Training Course for Healthcare Workers Going to West Africa…
CDC Guidance for Preventing Influenza in the Workplace

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  1. Is all this just scaremongering or are we really in danger. the virus is not airborne so i don’t think it is likely to spread in the West

  2. Thanks for the comment. Our blog addresses the importance of health care facilities to follow proper infection control protcols. Additionally, we remind all workers to take proper hygiene steps to protect against all infections, including the flu, in all of our daily activities.

  3. Remember the old saying? “Prevention is better than cure”, that’s still valid. Every one should do their part of prevention for health and safety of themselves and others.

About the Author

Dede supports the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences and the Oregon Healthy WorkForce Center's research, engagement and education programs. She is a certified industrial hygienist.

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