Seasonal Flu Guidance for Healthcare Employers, Businesses, and Employees
CDC revised their guidance on prevention strategies for seasonal influenza in healthcare settings. This updated guidance emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive influenza prevention strategy that can be applied across the entire spectrum of healthcare settings.
This guidance supersedes previous CDC guidance for both seasonal influenza and the Interim Guidance on Infection Control Measures for 2009 H1N1 Influenza in Healthcare Settings, which was written to apply to the special circumstances of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic as they existed in October 2009. As stated in that document, CDC planned to update the guidance as new information became available. In particular, one major change from the spring and fall of 2009 is the widespread availability of a safe and effective vaccine for the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus. Components of this vaccine have been included in the 2010-2011 trivalent seasonal vaccine. In addition, the overall risk of hospitalization and death among people infected with this strain was uncertain in spring and fall of 2009, but is now known to be substantially lower than pre-pandemic assumptions. More information was recently published or presented indicating that face mask use and hand hygiene reduce the risk of influenza infection in health care and household settings.
This guidance document also discusses use of respiratory protection. Oregon OSHA enforcement policy is that during aerosol-generating procedures, health care professionals must wear respiratory protection equivalent to a fitted N95 filtering face piece respirator or equivalent N95 respirator (e.g., powered air purifying respirator, elastomeric). Respirators must be used in the context of a comprehensive respiratory protection program that includes fit-testing and training as required under OSHAs Respiratory Protection standard, 1910.134.