How to protect yourself and your patients?
The impact of coronavirus on Dental Practitioners: how to protect yourself and your patients?
The new strain of coronavirus which originated in China last December continues to cause chaos worldwide. As dental practitioners, it is important that your organisation remains vigilant to protect patients and dental practitioners.
What measures can dental practitioners take to prevent cross infection?
How does the coronavirus spread?
Investigations are ongoing as to how 2019-nCoV spreads. However, it is presently thought to be passed on when an infected person coughs or sneezes via respiratory droplets, which end up in the lungs of people in the vicinity, like how the flu spreads. Investigations into whether infection can occur from contact with an object, such as touching something that is infected and then touching your mouth or nose, are continuing.
What can dental practitioners do to prevent cross infection?
First, revise risk assessment procedures with the entire practice team. The first step to limiting infection in the practice is to try to prevent it from entering in the first place. In the case that a patient presents with symptoms, on arrival the patient should be requested to reschedule their appointment.
As practitioners, there are measures that you can take and can advise your patients to follow to protect against the coronavirus, as well as flu. Here are some points to remember:
Wash your hands: Wash hands for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based rub, especially before eating or after coughing or sneezing.
Keep your distance: As stated, viruses spread via respiratory droplets, so maintain a distance of at least 3 feet from people who have a cough or fever.
Avoid contact with eyes, nose, and mouth: Your hands touch many objects, and you could end up transferring the virus to yourself.
Seek medical care: Get help early if you are symptomatic and tell your medical practitioner if you have been in contact with anyone who has traveled to China.
Stay home: If you experience symptoms, stay home and rest until you are fully recovered. Do not come to work and infect your colleagues.
Disinfect surfaces: Clean objects and surfaces thoroughly that are frequently touched by people in the workplace. First, the surface must be cleaned, and then a second wipe is used to disinfect.
Do not be afraid to question patients before they enter the practice. It is, after all, a public health issue.
Vigilance, not panic, is the key to keeping viruses at bay.
How 2019-nCoV spreads. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. February 5, 2020. Accessed February 10, 2020.
How flu spreads. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention website. August 27, 2018. Accessed February 10, 2020.
The impact of coronavirus on dental practitioners: Protecting your patient, practice and public. 13/02/2020. Accessed February 14, 2020
Beat flu in dental practice. National Health Service Whales website. September 24, 2018. Accessed February 10, 2020.