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Section 4.05.08: Universal Precautions

Universal precautions are guidelines that should be followed to help prevent the spread of infection. Follow these guidelines to protect yourself from infection. Hospitals, all health care facilities, and heath care workers use universal precautions to protect patients, themselves, and other health care workers from the spread of infectious diseases. Infectious diseases are caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi. These organisms can be spread from person to person through:
· Blood and other secretions
· Droplets breathed, sneezed, or coughed out from the nose or mouth
· Skin to skin contact
· Sexual contact

Hand Washing
· Wash your hands immediately after you take gloves off
· If you get blood or body fluid on your hands or any other body surface, wash your hands and the exposed part of your body immediately and thoroughly
· Wash your hands immediately before and after each contact with an infected person
· Wash your hands before you eat and after you use the restroom

Guidelines for Sterilization or Disinfection
· Use chemical germicides registered with the Environmental Protection Agency for sterilization or disinfection
· Ask your health care provider or local health department what chemicals are safe for home use
· Use these chemicals only in the recommended concentrations and only with proper ventilation

The University of Michigan has developed comprehensive plans for
protecting the safety and well-being of our students, staff and faculty in the event of large-scale flu infections or any other major epidemic of an infectious disease. However, ordinary varieties of flu affect millions of people worldwide each year, and other infectious illnesses increase in frequency during the winter months. Individuals can take measures to help reduce the spread of illness.
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Influenza (also called flu) is a viral infection of the nose, throat, trachea, and bronchi (air passages). Outbreaks of flu occur almost every year, usually in late fall and winter. Flu viruses cause more severe symptoms and can cause more severe medical problems than cold viruses. Older adults, people whose immune systems are impaired, and people with chronic medical problems are particularly at risk for more severe flu symptoms or complications. However, a pandemic outbreak of the flu in humans would be a severe global problem.
Three conditions must be met for a pandemic to start:
· A new influenza virus subtype must emerge for which there is little or no human immunity
· It must infect humans and cause illness
· It must spread easily and is sustainable (continue without interruption) among humans
The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s definition of flu-like illness:
· A fever of 100.4 F or greater, plus a cough or sore throat
· Possibly other symptoms, include a runny nose, body aches, headaches, chills, fatigue, vomiting or diarrhea

Student Absences from Placement Due to Sickness:
If your student is experiencing flu symptoms on a day they are to report to field placement, they need to contact you (the Field Instructor) directly to alert you and discuss arrangements for their absence. The student is responsible for contacting the fieldwork site and Field Instructor directly if they become ill. Please be sure to share your fieldwork site's procedures and expectations with your student regarding the flu or other illness.

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