Swine Flu Top 10

Information points for EMS providers

 

 
 
 

Katherine West, BSN, MSEd, CIC | | Tuesday, April 28, 2009


As with any new viruses, there is confusion and sometimes fear generated by well meaning people, such as the media. This list will assist in clarifying some issues for EMS providers about the H1N1 virus, commonly called swine flu.

  1. We're in preparation mode -- not emergency mode -- on this illness.
  2. This is a new virus that is a combination of swine, human and bird genetic components.
  3. The virus is spread the same way as seasonal flu: via respiratory droplets expelled when a person coughs and sneezes.
  4. This is a large-particle virus and requires close contact for transmission. Droplets do not remain suspended in the air and travel only a short distance in the air (less than or equal to 1 meter, or 3-6 feet).
  5. As with any respiratory illness, place a surgical mask on the patient to contain secretions.
  6. It's unusual that this virus has appeared at the end of the normal flu season. It may spike and then drop off, because influenza is seasonal (the influenza virus does not like summer temperatures.) This version may appear in greater numbers in the fall, but we could have a vaccine by then.
  7. This virus is susceptible to Tamiflu and Relenza, which are the antivirals in our national stockpile program. The Food & Drug Administration released these on April 27, 2009for use if needed.
  8. EMS personnel should be familiar with state pandemic plans. The CDC only issues broad guidelines and refers EMS to state and local plans, per National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.
  9. Screen all persons with respiratory symptoms for a travel history, such as recent travel to Mexico. Stay home if you're ill. Work restrictions guidelines should be in place in your department for general influenza illness.
  10. Interim guidelines are not cast in stone; they will change.

Keep this all in a proper perspective. Each year, there are between 26,000 and 36,000 deaths in the U.S. from seasonal flu.

Katherine West, BSN, MSEd, CIC, is an infection control consultant with Infection Control/Emerging Concepts Inc. and a JEMS editorial board member.

Editor's Note: First responders are urged to go to the CDC Web site for further information. The following sites have more information on this influenza virus.




Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Airway and Respiratory, Health and Safety

 
What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Details on Discipline Released in D.C. Investigation

Interim fire chief claims punishment was not severe enough.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Kentucky Firefighters Recovering from Injuries

One of the four remains in critical condition.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Three Kentucky Firefighters Injured in Ice Bucket Challenge

Campbellsville tower ladder comes in contact with power lines.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

NAEMT: Transforming EMS

A look inside at the Mobile Healthcare Paramedic system.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Numerous Rescues during Arizona Flooding

Severe flooding across the region prompted several rescues.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Colorado Hiker Rescue

Injured hiker spent three hours in a crevice.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Airlift at Swiss Train Derailment

Helicopters used to help reach the injured.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >