Infection Prevention & Control
Winter and Spring breaks mean an escape from the daily grind and possibly some traveling. While most students will have a safe and enjoyable adventure, for some the trip can become unpleasant due to a whole host of possible diseases, tainted food and drink, and health risks. Be prepared. This is your time. You are in charge of your health, safety, and well-being. Students should check out the Health section at the website Students Abroad.
It is also a good idea to plan and prepare a travel health kit. The purpose of packing a travel health kit is to ensure travelers have supplies they need to:
- manage pre-existing medical conditions
- prevent illness related to traveling, and
- take care of minor health problems as they occur
- Wash your hands with soap and water. If you don't have soap, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Protect yourself from the sun. Use sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher, a hat or head covering, and sunglasses with UV protection. This includes winter/snow activities!
- Drink and eat regularly to stay hydrated.
- Practice healthy behaviors. If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. Do not drive if you have been drinking. Use latex condoms if you have sex, and make sure equipment used for tattoos and piercings is clean.
- Stay alert, especially in crowds. Choose a place to meet if you get separated from your group. Travel with a friend or in a group rather than going out alone.
- Exercise caution when travelling. Wear a helmet when you ride a bike or motorcycle and be careful of crossing the street. If travelling by car, use a seatbelt and remember that some countries drive on the left side of the road.
- Follow local laws and customs.
- Make a photocopy of your passport to carry with you at all times.
Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH)
Center for Disease Control
Avoid Droplet Spread
Influenza virus is spread from person to person when an infected individual coughs or sneezes and sends small droplets through the air; this is known as “droplet spread”. Droplets become airborne and can land on the mouth or nose of people who are in close proximity. They can also land on any surface and contaminate an individual who touches the surface and then touches their own nose or mouth, or someone else’s, before washing their hands. Even though hand washing, social distancing and vaccination offer, perhaps the best defense against transmission of disease, the disinfection of environmental surfaces and the use of appropriate personal protective products can play an important role in keeping you healthy.
Recommended Equipment and Supplies
In addition to avoiding close contact, avoid touching your nose and mouth and wash your hands frequently. In the event that you must come into contact with potentially contaminated surfaces, you can further protect yourself by wearing gloves.
Currently, CDC does not recommend the use of masks as an influenza control strategy in non-healthcare settings. Since adults are contagious 1 day before symptoms appear and up to 5 days after onset of illness, practicing appropriate cough etiquette, including hand hygiene, is a far more effective means to limit transmission of disease. Although not recommended for departmental planning purposes, if desired, filtering facemasks are available for purchase.
Disinfectants are antimicrobial agents that are applied to non-living objects to destroy microorganisms, the process of which is known as disinfection.
In the United States, liquid chemical germicides (disinfectants) are regulated by EPA and FDA. EPA maintains listings of registered antimicrobial products that are effective against certain blood borne/body fluid pathogens, Mycobacteria tuberculosis, human HIV-1 virus, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C Viruses. In addition; they maintain fact sheets on registered antimicrobial products with label claims for avian (bird) flu disinfectants.
As part of a complete infection and prevention program, utilizing disinfectants to maintain your office area, telephone and other work surfaces free of germs is a good idea. In addition, the use of hand sanitizers with a minimum of 60% alcohol is recommended when access to soap and running water is not practical. It is recommended that departments consider their needs with regards to protection and disinfection as part of regular infection control techniques and as it relates to business continuity planning in the event of a University closure.
How to Order
OU employees can purchase effective sanitizers and disinfectants from a variety of approved vendors including Grainger and Detroit Pencil Company.
IPC Committee Members:
- Samantha Damren, ANP-BC, BSN, MSN, Adult Nurse Practitioner Board Certified, ANCC
- Cora Hanson, MS, Environmental Health and Life Safety Manager, ext. 4427
- Mariann Hodge, MS, MT (ASCP), Laboratory Compliance Specialist, ext. 4603
- Nancy Jansen RN, MSN, Adult Nurse Practitioner, Graham Health Center Director, ext. 4375