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Protecting house staff from flu
In an analysis of transmission of pandemic H1N1 to residents and fellows at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health advises:
What program and medical center managers can do
Develop procedures for tracking ill housestaff and fellows and excluding them from work.
Develop a written plan for staffing of housestaff and fellows in the event of a pandemic or other emergency.
Educate housestaff and fellows on the evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and complications of patients with symptoms of influenza. Recommended isolation precautions, proper hand hygiene, and use of recommended PPE should also be covered.
Continue to require housestaff and fellows to get the annual seasonal influenza vaccine as part of a comprehensive influenza infection control strategy.
Place signs indicating appropriate isolation precautions outside patients' rooms as soon as patients are placed in the rooms.
Limit healthcare personnel entering the room of a patient in isolation precautions for influenza to those performing patient care activities.
Develop, implement, and maintain a respiratory protection program for all housestaff and fellows to protect against airborne infectious agents.
Work with a designated person in charge to ensure an adequate inventory of N95 respirators for emergencies.
What housestaff and fellows can do
Self assess for symptoms of ILI. Report any symptoms to appropriate supervisors as soon as possible.
Do not report for work when ill.
Get the seasonal influenza vaccine every year.
Use recommended PPE when caring for critically ill and non-critically ill patients with pandemic H1N1 or influenza-like illness.