Flu Prevention & Outbreak Management
Guidelines for flu prevention and outbreak management
By Patricia Howell, RN, BSN, Clinical Support Manager, McKesson Medical Surgical
In general the flu season will peak mid to late winter and continue through early spring. This flu season many states have been experiencing significant regional and even widespread reports of confirmed flu and flu like symptoms. Preventing transmission of the flu requires a multifaceted approach that includes:
- Infection Control
- Antiviral Treatment and Chemoprophylaxis
Guidelines for Flu Prevention
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided a guideline "Interim Guidance for Influenza Outbreak Management in Long Term Care Facilities." The interim guidance recommends residents to receive the trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) annually and before flu season. However, new residents are admitted on a daily basis to a facility and should be given the opportunity for vaccination as soon as possible after admission. If residents experience flu like signs and symptoms they should be tested. The CDC recommends if residents are experiencing flu like illness outside of the flu season, they should still be tested. Infection control measures are standard precautions when providing care for residents in long term care. When a resident is experiencing flu like symptoms or the flu has been confirmed, droplet precautions are recommended for 7 days after the onset of the illness or 24 hours after the resolution of fever and symptoms resolve.
Flu Testing and Treatment
When a resident is experiencing flu like symptoms they should be tested to confirm the flu. The CDC recommends starting the antiviral as soon as possible and to not wait for the confirmation of the flu. The antiviral works best when started within the first two days of symptoms. If an outbreak is determined all residents in the facility should receive antiviral chemoprophylaxis as soon as a flu outbreak is determined. Encourage your customers to have enough infection control supplies on hand in case of an outbreak, including antiviral treatment.
About the Author
Patricia Howell, RN, BSN, Clinical Support Manager, McKesson Medical-Surgical
Patricia Howell graduated with a BSN from the University of Phoenix. Her skills and work experience includes facility and corporate level positions in Nursing Homes, Sub-acute Care Centers, Assisted Living and Home Care, as well as having her own business serving elders and the long term care community. Patricia is now one of the Clinical Support Managers on the McKesson Clinical Resource Team.
Unless otherwise noted, the recommendations in this document were obtained from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Be advised that information contained herein is intended to serve as a useful reference for informational purposes only and is not complete clinical information. This information is intended for use only by competent healthcare professionals exercising judgment in providing care. McKesson cannot be held responsible for the continued currency of or for any errors or omissions in the information.
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