We are again faced by the advent of yet another serious viral infection called novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Like all the other viral infections that affected several countries as a pandemic crisis, infection control and exposure guidelines are strictly implemented by all health professionals to make sure that prevention and management of this treacherous disease can be achieved. But how do health professionals help in this crusade to positively end the spread of viral infection?
Viral infection spread
What are viruses exactly? These are tiny germs that are made of genetic material inside of a protein coating. Viruses cause familiar infectious diseases such as the common colds, flu (influenza virus), and warts (human papillomavirus). They also cause severe illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, smallpox, and Ebola. They are different in bacteria in that they are self-limiting which means that they go away on their own after the infection. There is no need for a person to take antibiotics to fight them off unless the immune system of a person is severely compromised. The only common medications health professionals recommend would address the symptoms of the viral infection, like analgesics for pain, antipyretics for fever, etc.
How does a viral infection spread?
The spread or development of viral infection in a certain location is done the same way as bacterial infections. Health professionals advise people that both bacterial and viral infections can be transmitted through:
- Coughing or sneezing (body fluids)
- Contact with infected people (touching shaking hands, kissing, having sex, etc.)
- Exposure to contaminated surfaces, food, and water
- Getting in contact with infected creatures like pets, livestock (as food), and insects such as mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks
How do health professionals eradicate the spread of viral infections?
There are ways on how to stop the spread of the viral disease, and you can assume that all health professionals are aware of these steps. They can either loom as the viral bugs two ways – prevent the spread of the disease to other people, or avoid having them themselves so they won’t spread them too (also called healthcare-associated infections (HAIs)). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as local and international health organizations, would always come up with information for the patient and health professionals on how to take care of themselves during a virus outbreak. As an example, the recent pandemic that we have to face, the novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has made both the public and the health professionals all over the world alert as to how they should treat the virus and protect themselves from it. Here are some of the effective steps the medical team who are the first line of defense in the medical field should know so as not to be affected by this fast-spreading infection.
- Ensure that hospital facility policies and practices are in place and strictly enforced to minimize exposures to respiratory pathogens like 2019-nCoV
- Standard Precautions assume that every person is potentially infected or colonized with a pathogen that could be transmitted in the healthcare setting. Wearing personal protective equipment is not requested but is imperatively recommended.
- Hand hygiene and handwashing techniques before and after patient interaction are a must
- Health professionals should establish procedures to monitor, manage, and train visitors of the patient so as not to encourage the spread of the disease.
- If a health professional is stricken by the virus, monitor the healthcare staff the same way as you monitor the patients and patients under investigation (PUIs)
- To effectively prevent viral infection even before the spread in your area, inquire about the necessary vaccines that you can have to protect your body and increase your immunity to the disease.