The Coronavirus Disease, now named COVID-19 is making news headlines this week as the infected numbers continue to rise in the U.S. and abroad.  The American Dental Association (ADA) has released an informational handout that covers strategies to help prevent the transmission of suspected respiratory disease in the dental health care setting.

Included are guidelines from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

To help share this information, we’ve outlined some of the key items your dental practice should be aware of when it comes to handling the Coronavirus.

1. Alertness

The ADA recommends standard precautions with all patients, at all times. It’s possible that patients with an acute respiratory illness may seek treatment at outpatient dental settings. All dental personnel should be alert to identify patients arriving with flu-like or respiratory illness symptoms.

2. Prevention

In an effort to prevent the transmission of all diseases, dental offices should follow the respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette infection control measures. These include performing hand hygiene, providing tissues and no-touch receptacles to throw away used tissues and offering face masks to patients who are coughing. Follow routine cleanings for disinfection as used during flu season.  The CDC recommends all health care workers, including dentists and staff, receive the flu vaccine and not report to work if experiencing flu-like symptoms.

3. Preparation

When providing care to patients with symptoms of illness it’s important to be prepared. For example, isolate and provide staff disposable surgical masks, non-sterile gloves, gown, and eye protection to prevent exposure. The ADA recommends checking for updates about the COVID-19 disease on the CDC’s coronavirus infection control page for health care professionals.

As of February 24th, there were 53 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the US.

For more information visit the CDC’s website for COVID-19.

 

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