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Acute Respiratory and Gastrointestinal Illness

Acute Respiratory and Gastrointestinal Illness - Departments & Programs, UW Medical Foundation, Patient Resources, Social Work Services Quick Guide, Social Work Manual, UWHC

Focus

03.02.2012

To: All UWHC Physicians and Staff
From: Nasia Safdar, Hospital Epidemiologist, UWHC, and Michelle Schmitz, CIC, UWHC
Re: Infection Control Update: Acute Respiratory and Gastrointestinal Illness

We would like to provide you with an update regarding Acute Respiratory and Gastrointestinal Illness, along with a review of infection control guidelines for health care workers and for treatment of patients with these conditions.

GENERAL REMINDERS

HAND HYGIENE must be performed at a minimum prior to and after contact with each patient and after contact with patient surroundings and body fluids.

  1. For respiratory illness, hand hygiene can be performed using the alcohol gel or with soap and water.
  2. For gastrointestinal illness, hand hygiene should be performed using soap and water.

HEALTHCARE WORKERS: If you are experiencing any signs and symptoms of the following:

  1. Cough with fever and or body aches,
  2. Cough with vomiting, or
  3. Nausea and vomiting and/or diarrhea,

please do not come to work and stay home until signs and symptoms have resolved. If you have vomiting and/or diarrhea, you should not return to work until 24 hours after resolution of symptoms. Inform employee Health immediately for details of return to work policies.

INFLUENZA AND PERTUSSIS

  1. Patients suspected or confirmed to have an acute respiratory infection should be masked (yellow mask) until they are placed in the appropriate isolation precautions pending diagnosis and workup. If family members present have respiratory symptoms, they should be asked to wear a surgical mask and to limit future visits to well family members.
  2. Immediately implement CONTACT AND/OR DROPLET PRECAUTIONS for patients with an acute respiratory illness, and always if a test is ordered for any respiratory illness. Do not wait for a positive test result before starting isolation.
    1. Strict adherence to Droplet isolation (HCW wearing a facemask) is required as follows:
      1. Influenza: Until 7 days after illness onset or until 24 hours after the resolution of fever and respiratory symptoms, whichever is longer.
      2. Pertussis: Until 5 days of appropriate treatment has been given (e.g., azithromycin).
      3. Patient ambulation: If the patient must leave their room, have the patient wear a yellow mask.
      4. Standard cleaning and disinfection procedures are adequate.

GASTROINTESTINAL (GI) ILLNESS (VOMITING AND/OR DIARRHEA)

  1. Patients who are suspected or confirmed to have vomiting and/or diarrhea should be placed in enhanced contact precautions immediately and always if a test is ordered for either C. difficile or Norovirus. Do not wait for a positive test result before starting isolation.
  2. Strict adherence to Enhanced Contact Precautions is required for duration of illness or until testing is negative.
  3. Patient ambulation: If the patient must leave their room, have the patient wear a clean hospital gown and perform hand hygiene with soap and water prior to leaving their room.
  4. Cleaning and disinfection should be performed using a bleach-based product for all patient care items and room cleaning.

Questions? – Contact Infection Control at Pager 2570. For non-urgent questions, email Infection Control at infectioncontrol@uwhealth.org.