General Protective Measures for Individuals
Posted on behalf of Occupational Medicine
Fortunately, viruses aren't transmitted by magic. Your protective strategy can be highly effective if you focus on avoiding respiratory droplets and potentially contaminated surfaces. Following that combined approach will make it unlikely that you will become infected.
Cough management. Please do not come to work when you have a cough unless Occupational Medicine clears you by telephone. (So call for a cough consultation instead of coming in.) This step is important because not all coughs are dangerous to others. If you do need to cough or sneeze for any reason, including allergies, please follow these cough hygiene steps:
- Walk away from others as far as possible.
- Face away from others.
- Cough into a tissue or your clothing. For instance, looking downward and coughing into a shirt that has been pulled away from your chest is an excellent technique when feasible. Coughing into an inner coat lapel is very effective. If neither of those options are possible, cough into your bent elbow.
Social distancing. Keeping your mouth at least 6 feet away from the mouths of others will prevent inhalation of droplets, which are the primary mode of transmission. At this time, the Lab is not making social distancing an "expectation." Rather, it is a very important protective measure that is wise to follow whenever possible.
Fomite sanitization. In public health, "fomite" refers to inanimate surfaces such as desks, doorknobs, keyboards, etc. Try to clean these frequently. Any agent that kills the flu virus should work for the coronavirus too. Many viruses can be transmitted by fomites, and it's safe to assume coronavirus can too. We believe droplet transmission is more important than fomite.
- A note about stair rails. Many people avoid touching them. That is very dangerous. Please use handrails at all times and then promptly sanitize your hands. We can't control the hygiene of most fomites. For those times, hand washing and use of sanitizers are especially important.
Fomite barriers. Grasping objects such as doorknobs with a tissue or paper towel is protective, as are gloves.
Hand washing. The more often, the better. Use plenty of soap so as to create substantial sudsing. Rub every surface, including the finger tips and on, under, and around the nails. Thoroughly rinse with high flow water. We are commonly admonished to spend at least 20 seconds from start to finish. The longer, the better.
Hand sanitizers. These kill viruses and are highly protective if used correctly:
- Apply enough to wet all hand surfaces, including around and under the nails.
- Let the gel air dry.
Finally, please understand that Occupational Medicine has never been an illness evaluation or care service. Therefore, of necessity our mission has always been sharply focused: help employees during emergencies, evaluate work related injuries, and provide medical monitoring-related service.
Currently, we are stretched extremely thin and if coronavirus comes to our community, we could easily become overwhelmed. In addition, the personal health of Occupational Medicine staff will be at great risk. Given these factors, please don't come to us to "see if I'm sick," or for temperature checks "just in case". These are highly legitimate questions, but they are beyond our scope. Instead, if you might be sick, please go home and take your temperature. Then consult your personal physician if needed. Likewise, we can't tell over the phone whether you are ill, or whether you should be tested for coronavirus. Thank you for understanding these nuances, which I regret needing to mention.
The Lab's approach to the coronavirus is under continuous review and the situation changes frequently. We hope those changes are for the better, but all of us should pay attention to the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html
Thank you for considering this information.
Tue, 03/03/2020 - 14:46
JLab User information can be found at the link below:
Additional information about the virus COVID-19 can be found: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html
JLab's Occupational Medicine group provides a variety of occupational health services for employees and lab users. We assist visitors and subcontractors with medical emergencies, provide first-aid treatment and coordinate referrals to qualified off-site providers for more serious cases. We also have available to employees a wide range of medical monitoring and wellness-related services. All of these are provided at no cost to employees and with strict medical confidentiality.
What We Do
Occupational Medicine provides first-aid and other limited emergency care for injuries and illnesses that occur on site. If you are injured on the job report it immediately to your supervisor and go to Occupational Health & Safety if you are able. The nurse will come to you if needed; this includes situations in which you suddenly become very ill and need help. Always call 911 first for serious injuries or illnesses.
Occupational Medicine can provide only limited care for injuries or illnesses. The nurse will provide first aid treatment, assess the extent of the injury and if appropriate recommend additional diagnosis and treatment. We will refer you to off-site care providers for more serious work-related injuries and illnesses. We will provide you with a panel of qualified physicians to choose from.
- Medical Monitoring
- Wellness Services
- Information on Work-related Injuries
- First Aid Cabinets
- Laser Eye Exam
- Foreign Travel Medicine
What We Cannot Do
Occupational Medicine cannot treat family members or provide vaccinations for them. We also cannot take the place of your personal physician, and we are unable to prescribe medications. We will help you find a doctor that meets your needs and we will work with your doctor on personal health issues that affect your job. There is no substitute, however, for an on-going relationship with a personal physician whom you trust.