Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Keeping a Dental Practice and Patients Safe from Coronavirus


The Coronavirus has become a major portion of the 24 hour news cycle.  I was at a meeting in early January of this year and someone at the meeting had just returned from China with a case of the “sniffles”.  Someone casually mentioned that there was some type of bad bug that was being tracked out of China and the person with the runny nose was quick to state that what they had was in no way related to the “bad” infection.  That was the first time I had heard any type of casual conversation about the Coronavirus.  Until then I had only heard mention of it in the news and also in some medical literature I’d had access to.

Looking back on that conversation, it seems like years have gone by.  Now discussion of the Coronavirus has definitely gone “main stream”.  In fact the discussion even in the early days of January was starting to show signs of people panicking about the virus and *that* caused me to order a back supply of surgical masks.  I had a feeling that there would be enough concerns in the lay population that masks might be in short supply in the future.

Today, you cannot turn on a TV news program or check a news website without seeing *some* mention of the virus and effect it is having on the world.  Heck, even when I talked with my friend Howard Farran last week for his Dentistry Uncensored Podcast, the question of the Coronavirus came up.  

So this topic is for sure in the mainstream now.  I’ve mentioned it here on the blog more than once.  Because of this now mainstream interest in the bug, dental offices are starting to have patients asking about safety protocols and also just regular medical info regarding the virus and how to keep from  suffering an infection as a member of the general public.  Patients see dentists about 6 times more frequently than they see their general medical doctor and this means that often times patients will turn to their dentist for information they might usually request from their medical general practitioner.

Fortunately my gang at Dental Products Report is here to help.  My good friend and highly skilled author Robert ElsenPeter has put together a really informative article on the Coronavirus in an easy to read format.  

Some of the best takeaways:
The best way for dental professionals to protect themselves—and their patients—against the spread of the 2019-nCoV is through basic, tried-and-true Infection Control 101.

Robert quotes Leslie Canham, CDA, RDA who states: “Healthcare workers want to make sure to follow standard precautions. Standard precautions are a group of infection prevention practices that include hand hygiene, use of gloves, masks, eye protection, and respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette. In addition, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces thoroughly after every patient is crucial. For surfaces that are difficult to clean and disinfect, plastic barriers should be used. For our patient population, we can advise them to cover their mouth and use a tissue when they sneeze or cough, and stay home when they are sick.”

For confirmed 2019-nCoV infections, reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. Symptoms can include:
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) believes at this time that symptoms of 2019-nCoV may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS viruses.

2019-nCoV certainly gets a lot of press, but keeping it at bay is as simple as observing best practice infection control protocols.

For the full article with all of the pertinent information, follow this link.

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