Weekly sterilizer monitoring, using biological indicators, in a dental office is an important part of…
With October marking the beginning of influenza (flu) and cold season and with SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) continuing to circulate across the United States, control of aerosol transmissible diseases (ATDs) as well as standard precautions for infection control are essential in healthcare settings to minimize infection transmission. The flu, COVID-19, and the common cold are all contagious respiratory illnesses, with similar symptoms. It may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Getting vaccinated against both COVID-19 and the flu can help to ward off the viruses that cause respiratory symptoms.
Screening Patients for ATDs
To ensure symptomatic patients do not expose dental healthcare personnel (DHCP) and/or patients, dental offices should screen patients at reception for ATDs and then defer dental treatment for any ATD-symptomatic patients. In California, to be conditionally-exempt from Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Disease Standard, dental offices are required to screen patients at check-in. Additionally, DHCP should be instructed to stay home if they are exhibiting symptoms, following U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)guidelines.
There are no federal or state requirements mandating DHCP to get the flu vaccine. However, to prevent flu and COVID-19 infections, the CDC recommends vaccinations against the diseases for eligible individuals, including healthcare personnel.
Additionally, some California local health departments have mandated that DHCP working in clinics in their jurisdictions receive the influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations. DHCP without an exemption who decline to receive the vaccinations may be required to wear a surgical mask while at work during flu season, October through April. Refer to your local public health department for specific information on local vaccine mandates.
Since 1992, OSHA Review, Inc. has provided dental professionals with comprehensive programs to support regulatory compliance and infection control. We are a registered continuing education provider in the state of California, specializing in Dental Practice Act, infection control, and OSHA training.