Monday, November 20, 2006

3196 See your Healthcare Provider if. . .

That phrase drives me crazy. Do you know who falls under that term, "healthcare provider?" Here's the definition I found at Medscape when discussing who should have the flu vaccine among health workers. The definition of healthcare provider included in the ACIP and the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) statement, published in February 2006:

"A healthcare provider refers to all paid and unpaid persons working in healthcare settings who have the potential for exposure to infectious materials, including contaminated medical supplies. Healthcare providers might include but are not limited to: physicians, nurses, nursing assistants, therapists, technicians, emergency medical service personnel, dental personnel, pharmacists, laboratory personnel, autopsy personnel, students and trainees, contractual staff and persons, for example, clerical, dietary, housekeeping, maintenance and volunteers not directly involved in patient care but potentially exposed to infectious agents that can be transmitted to and from the healthcare provider."

According to the article, adults can shed influenza virus for up to 24 hours before they develop symptoms and for typically 4-5 days after the onset of symptoms. So staff you see at a doctor's office often are coming to work when they are shedding virus. They found that the majority of healthcare workers come to work while they still have symptoms from what might be influenza. The CDC reports that fewer than 40% of health care workers have been vaccinated.

Call me cranky, but why isn't this "recommendation" made a condition of getting their paycheck during the flu season?

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

I'm with you Norma, I wish healthcare workers would wash their hands more often and stop infecting healthy people.