Combating COVID-19: Finest Practices That Clinicians Have to Know

Because the variety of
international instances of coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19) rises, it’s crucial
that healthcare suppliers keep knowledgeable and ready with one of the best scientific
practices to fight the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Following applicable pointers and
practising correct approach will profit each sufferers and clinicians and
higher forestall the additional unfold of the virus.

It has been established that the virus largely spreads from individual to individual by way of shut contact or respiratory droplets. The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) defines shut contact with a affected person with COVID-19 as being inside 6 toes for an prolonged time frame or having direct contact with the affected person’s bodily fluids (ie, sputum, blood, respiratory droplets).1 When treating sufferers in such shut proximity, it’s particularly vital to make use of private protecting gear (PPE), which might help to scale back the chance of buying the virus.

PPE and Isolation Precautions

In a podcast interview,
Betsey Todd, MPH, RN, a nurse epidemiologist and scientific editor of American Journal of Nursing, famous the
significance of correct PPE and the way it varies relying on the Four classes of
isolation precautions: normal, contact, droplet, and airborne precautions.2

Not like normal precaution, contact, droplet, and airborne precautions are all kinds of transmission precautions that Ms Todd notes could also be utilized in mixture. Whereas contact precautions embrace using gloves and robes to deal with circumstances corresponding to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, different circumstances corresponding to influenza infections or tuberculosis might require extra PPE, corresponding to a face masks or defend (droplet precautions) or an N95 respirator and adverse stress rooms (airborne precautions), respectively.2

When discussing the remedy of sufferers with suspected or
confirmed COVID-19, Ms Todd famous that there’s relative certainty that the
virus spreads by droplets, which could recommend the necessity for a masks and face
cowl. Nevertheless, she notes that as a result of the virus continues to be so new, “the CDC
recommends for sufferers which can be suspected of getting or have confirmed COVID-19,
that [health care providers] go forward and use, not droplet, however airborne
precautions, and place the affected person in a adverse stress room if obtainable.”

Ms Todd went on to notice that “common surgical-type masks are made for holding droplets from [a clinician’s] personal mouth…whereas N95 respirators or different kinds of particulate respirators are made to guard what [clinicians are] inhaling.” Subsequently, she suggests using airborne precaution approach.

Correct PPE wouldn’t be as efficient if not worn accurately. When
sporting a masks, be sure to fit-test by taking a second to make it possible for the
masks matches appropriately. Take a couple of deep breaths to make sure there isn’t any leakage
round or close to the masks.2

When requested who needs to be sporting the N95 masks, Ms Todd replied, “the CDC and World Well being Group are actually making an attempt to strongly push again in opposition to the concept everyone ought to go round sporting any form of masks… . Folks assume that it’ll shield them out in public, however the reality is that N95s are usually not applicable for sporting lengthy durations of time.”

The World Well being Group famous earlier this month in a news launch that the “shortages [in PPE] are leaving docs, nurses, and different frontline employees dangerously ill-equipped to look after COVID-19 sufferers, as a consequence of restricted entry to provides corresponding to gloves, medical masks, respirators, goggles, face shields, robes, and aprons.”3

Practices for Healthcare
Suppliers and Sufferers

Amy Fuller, DNP, director of the Grasp’s Nurse Program at Endicott Faculty in Beverly, Massachusetts, described steps nurse practitioners (NPs) and doctor assistants (PAs) can take to make sure one of the best prevention and remedy strategies.

As a result of the 2019 coronavirus outbreak has overlapped with the
present influenza season, Dr Fuller famous that “it’s arduous to distinguish
as a result of they each have the identical form of signs. However the incidence and
prevalence for the flu is a lot larger than for the coronavirus.” For
nurses, NPs, and PAs, she famous that it needs to be “frequent sense” that if a
affected person is “coughing or sneezing, put a masks on.”

She continued by noting that each healthcare suppliers and sufferers needs to be “real looking” and that the SARS-CoV-2 virus will “be right here with extra of a presence than it’s presently.” Healthcare suppliers ought to inform their sufferers to “keep away from crowded locations” and “keep away from shut contact with people who find themselves sick,” along with avoiding cruise journey and nonessential air journey and staying at dwelling as a lot as potential to additional scale back the chance of publicity.4

One other
suggestion was for healthcare suppliers to be conscious of the sufferers who
current to their practices and ensure to triage them instantly. It’s
vital to be conscious of their symptomology, their contact with others, and
their journey historical past.

Each clinicians and sufferers ought to keep away from touching their face, nostril, and eyes; remember to wash their palms typically with cleaning soap and water (for at the least 20 seconds) or with at the least 60% alcohol-containing hand sanitizer if cleaning soap and water are usually not obtainable; and to scrub and disinfect frequent floor areas within the dwelling.4

When requested
whether or not a affected person needs to be self-quarantined or seen in a medical apply, Dr
Fuller famous that it will depend on the case. “I will surely advocate
self-quarantine if they’ve the chance components…if [patient] signs are delicate,
and most instances are delicate, [the patients] don’t require any form of

If a affected person
presents with signs, “the caveat might be that the nurse, NP, or PA can
examine on the affected person in 12 hours and see how they’re doing or instruct them to
name again if their signs worsen. But when they simply have cold-like signs
with no fever, I’m not totally invested in sending them to the hospital.”

presently no vaccine or antiviral to deal with this an infection. Present remedies
might embrace fever-reducing medicines however “the very last thing we wish to do is
have a giant rush of individuals to the hospital who solely have delicate, cold-like

Dangers and Signs to Look
Out For

Based on the CDC, it will be important for healthcare suppliers to concentrate to signs corresponding to fever, cough, and shortness of breath.4 Whereas human coronaviruses could cause illness just like a typical chilly, extra extreme instances could cause pneumonia, extreme acute respiratory syndrome, and even demise.5 People with a better threat for COVID-19 embrace older adults and people with persistent medical circumstances corresponding to coronary heart illness, diabetes, and lung illness. Emergency warning indicators that require fast medical consideration embrace problem respiratory or shortness of breath, persistent ache or stress within the chest, new confusion or lack of ability to arouse, and/or bluish lips or face. Though these are usually not all inclusive, the CDC urges adults with these signs to contact their medical suppliers. 


Healthcare suppliers are on the forefront, caring for contaminated
sufferers and rising their very own threat of publicity to the virus. The
data surrounding COVID-19 is consistently being up to date as we be taught extra
in regards to the virus, the sicknesses it causes, and who’s in danger.

It’s crucial that clinicians proceed to learn new data and keep up to date, apply advisable hygiene, put on the suitable PPE, and make it possible for their sufferers are educated. Following the suitable steps will assist to scale back the unfold of the virus and hopefully forestall additional publicity in uninfected people.


  1. What healthcare personnel ought to find out about caring for sufferers with confirmed or potential COVID-19 an infection. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.  Up to date February 29, 2020.
  2. Bonsall L, Todd B. COVID-19: what nurses have to find out about private protecting gear (PPE). Lippincott Nurs Cent. March 6, 2020. Accessed March 10, 2020.
  3. Scarcity of non-public protecting gear endangering well being employees worldwide. World Well being Group. March 3, 2020. Accessed March 11, 2020.
  4. Folks in danger for critical sickness from COVID-19.Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. Up to date March 9, 2020. Accessed March 11, 2020.
  5. Coronavirus illness (COVID-19) outbreak: rights, roles and obligations of well being employees, together with key issues for occupational security and well being. World Well being Group. Accessed March 11, 2020.

This text initially appeared on Medical Advisor

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