Infection Prevention at large events!

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We are in the first month of the New Year, which means we are still in the middle of our Flu season, which started Fall, 2019. Did you know that from Oct. 1, 2019 to Jan. 4, 2020, we have seen 4.5 – 6..5 million medical visits due to flu, just here in the United States? When flu is particularly severe, people get hospitalized so they can get the help they need to battle this potentially deadly viral infection. So far this season, there may have been 87,000 to 150,000 hospitalizations, and 4,800 to 12,000 deaths! Flu season isn’t over yet! And the Flu virus is just one virus we have to worry about this winter!

With the Super Bowl just around the corner and with Infection Prevention never far from my mind, I can’t help but think of the 2012 superbowl in Indianapolis, Indiana. A couple of days before the big event, two people visited the village together and stopped in at a few stores. Unbeknownst to them and to anybody else, they were already infected with the measles virus. 13 additional individuals who socialized with the two individuals, ended up with Measles as well.

This vaccine-preventable, highly contagious, and potentially deadly disease is caused by a virus. One patient can infect 90% of unvaccinated individuals who are around him/her.

The Indianapolis super bowl village is not the only large arena where this virus has spread. Disneyland had a large measles outbreak in 2012/2013. It is thought that the source of this outbreak was an unvaccinated traveler who became sick overseas and subsequently took a trip to Disneyland.

Measles is contagious 4 days prior to the appearance of the measles rash, when the patient only has cold-like symptoms! 

A measles patient engaging in a hearty, airway relieving cough or sneeze could be expelling thousands of droplets carrying mucus, saliva and the Measles virus! An unvaccinated person, babies who haven’t been vaccinated, and/or an immunocompromised individuals can breathe in those infectious droplets and potentially get infected with the virus.

Measles is only ONE disease whose fear-inspiring symptoms are preceded by cold like symptoms! Other diseases include rubella (which can harm the unborn fetus), cytomegalovirus (which can also harm the fetus), pertussis (which can kill infants), etcetera.

If we are going to step outside our home and come in contact with other people, regardless of it being a small or large amount of people, here are my common sense SNOTI (Say No to Infections) tips for 2020 and beyond:

  • Take a small pack of tissues with you.
  • Feel a cough or sneeze coming on?
    • Do this:
      • Cough or sneeze into the tissue.
      • Dispose of the tissue and clean your hands.
        • I personally prefer soap and water and use hand sanitizer as my alternative.
    • If my sneeze comes on too quickly to fish out a tissue, I sneeze into my shirt, because the goal is to effectively trap those sneeze particles from traveling through the air and infecting others.
  • COLD-LIKE SYMPTOMS AND THE OUTSIDE WORLD:
    • If you have cold like symptoms and must be outside your home, do this:
      • Take medications to reduce your symptoms of coughing and sneezing.
        • Individuals with certain medical conditions may need to speak with their healthcare provider before using over the counter drugs to alleviate cold symptoms.
      • Wear a face mask (ONLY if it doesn’t interfere with your breathing). 
    • If someone else around you is sick and they are not wearing a face mask, do this:
      • Wear a face mask.
    • You can also wipe down common use areas such as photocopiers, desks, door knobs, elevator push buttons.
      • I personally use Honest Multisurface Cleaner and Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes.

To read more about measles, click HERE.

TO read more about prevention of the flu as well as more tips on infection prevention, click HERE.

If you would like me to cover an infectious disease topic that hasn’t yet been covered on my blog, please feel free to comment at the end of this blog post. I will do my best to feature it in the next few blog posts.

Here’s strategizing for you and your loved ones, a joyful, infection-free, and healthy 2020.

Sincerely,

Bindu