Laser Dentistry Blog

Three Ways for Dental Practices to Prepare for Ebola

Posted by Therese Vannier, RDA/OMSA on Nov 17, 2014 2:36:57 PM

 

ebola 

With Ebola so much in the news lately, all health care professionals need to be aware of the procedures and protocols for ensuring a safe environment for both staff and patients. As reported in the ADA News, the ADA contacted the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in early September in search of guidance for dental professionals.

 

The CDC reports, “We are really trying to help health care workers understand the principles they need to follow and why, and how to do them."

According to the CDC, there is no risk of transmission of Ebola from asymptomatic infected patients. The virus is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with blood and body fluids (including saliva) of a person who is sick with Ebola, or with sharps that have been contaminated with the virus. Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, by food.

Dental providers can reduce the risk of infection by following standard infection control procedures as described in the CDC’s Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health Care SettingsPrepare yourself and your staff:

 

Stay informed

The CDC has been running a Health Alert Network (HAN) that health care workers and individuals can subscribe to for notifications and advice on diseases

 

Obtain patient travel history

In addition to the routine questions asked by dental professionals, the CDC says health care workers should get a patient’s travel history. Consider the possibility of Ebola if a patient has recently visited Ebola-affect countries (Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, or Sierra Leone) and exhibits symptoms of Ebola.

 

Protect yourself

PPE should consist of gloves, gown, eye protection (goggles or face shield), and a mask. An Ebola-specific checklist for health care providers is posted on the CDC’s website.

 

Signs and symptoms of Ebola include:

 

  • Fever (greater than 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising

 

Resources

ADA News - September, CDC Ebola Virus Guidance

Health Alert Network (HAN)

CDC Recommended Infection Control Practices for Dentistry

CDC Health Care Provider Preparedness Checklist for Ebola

 

Standard universal precautions should be used on all patients as a matter of routine. If Ebola is suspected, contact your state health department.

 

Topics: Infection Control