As a nurse, one must be exposed to different patients with different diseases, and there needs to be a better understanding from the hospital administration and other people of the risks/consequences associated with the exposure and potential disease spread among healthcare profession. This paper shall examine “The spread of diseases within healthcare providers.”
Health care Centers should come up with ways to avoid the spread of communicable disease within the healthcare populations and methods of controlling infections. Some steps that health care workers can take in order to prevent the spread of infections include correct hand washing; enveloping sneezes and coughs; employing gloves, masks and defensive clothing; getting frequent immunizations; availing tissues and hand cleaners; and following hospital procedures when handling blood or infected objects (Medline Plus, 2011).
Others claim that infections should not be controlled among health care providers, since by them acquiring these infections they develop natural immunity. This research attempts to answer the question: What is the most successful approach to solve health care providers’ risks of exposure?
This paper shall first explain the different types of communicable diseases that health care providers are usually exposed to, before exploring possible solutions for these infections. Thereafter, the two shall be merged to build a persuasive research paper.
This research will use academic journals, websites and books. These resources are easily accessible from academic libraries as well as the internet. It may be quite hard to trace the precise resources, but this can be tackled by exploring the content in different resources. The paper will make use of trusted sources and cite them properly so that readers can believe the credibility of the research.
Workers in current health care surroundings are exposed, daily, to numerous infections. As a result, of augmented possibility of contracting contagious infections, disease control inside the hospital surroundings has developed to extraordinary heights.
So as, to categorize communicable infections that pose a noteworthy threat to health care providers, it is crucial to identify the methods of spread of various forms of infectious agents. The two key forms of transmissible infections are air-borne and blood-borne and (Ayers, 1998).
While blood-borne pathogens are many, it is a commonly accepted medical view that hepatitis virus A, B, and C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) pretense the greatest threat to health care providers (Ayers, 1998). According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the key airborne infection causing apprehension is tuberculosis (TB) (Ayers, 1998). Comprehending the unique characteristics of air-borne and blood-borne infections is crucial to this paper and is explained below.
The human immunodeficiency virus causes HIV/AIDs is in the human body. HIV contact mostly occurs through the nose, mouth, eye or skin and exposure through cuts or needle sticks infected with the virus (Ayers, 1998). Health care provider dealing with HIV/AIDs patients is at risk of contacting the infection if he/she comes into contact with blood or fluid that is infected with the virus. Since the AIDS virus is deadly, health care providers must take required precautions to ensure their safety.
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver (Ayers, 1998). This infection is usually known as hepatitis A and, as it increasingly degenerates, the name changes to hepatitis B or C. The serene virus, hepatitis A, is transmitted by contaminated food or drinks.
Hepatitis B virus is transmitted by exposure to blood or almost all body fluids. Individuals are likely to contact the infection including homosexuals, consumers of drugs, heterosexual cohorts, health care workers, and persons who are regularly exposed to a range of bodily fluids constantly.
Hepatitis C is a liver infection and is the gravest form of hepatitis. Symptoms can emerge from two weeks to six months after the contact.
Airborne pathogens are pathogenic microbes that exist in airborne discharges and can cause infections in persons (Ayers, 1998). Some examples of these pathogens include mononucleosis, measles, whooping cough, chicken pox, influenza, meningitis, mumps and tuberculosis (Ayers, 1998).
Contagion with cytomegalovirus (CMV) is widespread. The disease can be transmitted by sexual contact, organ transplants, respiratory droplets, blood transfusions, saliva and urine (Medline Plus, 2011). Several people with this infection experience a mononucleosis-like condition.
CMV disease in the United States is usually experienced between the ages 10 – 35 (Medline Plus, 2011). Most persons are exposed to CMV but do not notice it since it has no indicators in its early stages. Individuals with a weak immune system will experience a rigorous form of the infection.
Measles is a terrifically infectious ailment. The illness is transmitted by contact with fluids from the lips, nose or gullet of an ill person. Coughing and sneezing places infected droplets into the atmosphere. Individuals who have suffered from the infection or those who have been immunized against the measles have resistance to infection.
Prior to prevalent immunization, measles were so widespread during infancy that nearly all people became ill with the infection by age 18. The cases of measles had decreased over the last few decades in Canada and the United States. Nevertheless, rates have begun to increase again lately.
Whooping cough is a communicable bacterial infection that leads to unmanageable coughing. The name is derived from the sound one creates when he/she acquires a breath following the cough. One might have pungent spells or might cough so roughly that he/she heaves. Anybody can acquire whooping cough, although it is widespread in infants and kids. The sounds can be so irritating making it hard for one to consume food or take breaths.
Chickenpox is an illness caused by virus in which an individual grows extremely tickly blisters in the entire body. In the past, it used to be one of the typical childhood illnesses. Nevertheless, it has turned out to be less widespread since chickenpox immunization was introduced.
Varicella-zoster virus, a component of the herpes virus family, causes chickenpox (Medline Plus, 2011). Chickenpox is easily transmitted. One can acquire chickenpox by contacting fluids from a chickenpox wound, or if near a person with the illness when he/she sneezes or coughs. Those with serene illness may as well be infectious. An individual with chickenpox turns out to be infectious 1 to 2 days prior to their blisters emerge. They stay infectious until all the sores have busted.
Influenza is an illness caused by several viruses, which affects the respiratory process. The viruses travel from the air to a person’s body through the mouth or nose. Every year, a large proportion of persons contact flu every year. The flu might be severe or even fatal for aged persons and individuals with definite chronic sicknesses. Signs of the flu emerge swiftly and are shoddier than those of the common cold. They could include sore throat, headache, body or muscle aches and cough Fever (Medline Plus, 2011).
Meningitis is soreness of the lean tissue that environs the spinal cord and brain, known as the meninges. Different forms of meningitis exist. The most widespread is viral meningitis, which is acquired when a virus penetrates the body via the mouth or nose and moves to the head. Bacterial meningitis is fatal though rare (Medline Plus, 2011). It typically begins with bacteria that lead to a cold-like illness. It can wedge blood vessels in the head resulting to destruction of the brain or stroke.
It can as well harm other parts of the body. Meningococcal infections and pneumococcal diseases can result to bacterial meningitis (Medline Plus, 2011). Any person can acquire meningitis, although it is widespread in persons whose bodies experience difficulties in combating infections. Meningitis develops swiftly hence if one experiences severe headaches together with an abrupt fever and a rigid neck, it is essential to seek medical treatment immediately.
Mump infections are caused by mumps virus. Symptoms of mumps include headache, fever, appetite loss, muscle pains, fatigue and loss of appetite. Engorgement of the salivary glands pursues these signs. Severe cases are uncommon, although they result to hearing impairment; inflammation of the brain, testicles, breasts, spinal cord or ovaries; and loss of pregnancy (Medline Plus, 2011). One can contract mumps by being near to someone who is infected.
“Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial illness caused by a microbe called Mycobacterium tuberculosis” (Medline Plus, 2011). The microbes typically assail the lungs, although they can also injure other body segments. TB is transmitted through the air when an individual with TB sneezes, coughs or talks (Medline Plus, 2011).
Those persons with a weak immune system are likely to acquire TB if exposed. “Signs of TB in the lungs include mass loss, night sweats, a cough that endures for 3 weeks or above, fever and chills, coughing up blood or mucus and weakness or weariness” (Medline Plus, 2011).
Rubella illness in adults may lead to inflammation and ache in the joints. Illness in the primary three months of expectancy has an 85 per cent threat of causing rigorous hurt to a growing baby.
Diphtheria and Tetanus
Diphtheria is a severe infectious illness, leading to fatality in 5-10 per cent of situations with the utmost rates amid the juvenile and the aged (Van Der Weyden, 2005). Tetanus is a severe illness that frequently leads to death.
Lack of appropriate measures for disease control will lead to loss of staff and clinicians. This will lead to decreased efficiency, making a vicious phase as a load is placed on those who are left. Both direct and non direct costs of chronic infections in the shape of lost productivity will continue to increase.
The insurance will also be overstrained since it has to compensate the infected health care providers. The name of the health center will also be tarnished, since it is supposed to offer clear guidelines that will help prevent infections among health care providers.
As a result, the health centre might experience difficulties in obtaining employees in the future. T he centre will also lose its ability to compete globally as by not providing guidelines to health care providers, it will be viewed as not conforming to international standards. Finally, the health institution will lose its overall profitability due to decreased efficiency among the little health care providers who remain.
Those who see no need for control of diseases among health workers ground their reasons on the fact that, the health provider becomes prone to infections through acquiring infections.
Most diseases that are likely to spread among health care providers can be prevented using vaccination or unsophisticated preventive measures.
Importance of Immunization for Health Care Providers
Health care workers are at risk of exposure to infectious illnesses at the place of work owing to their contact with contaminated patient’s body fluids, respiratory secretions or blood (Family Doctor, 2011). Most infectious diseases can be managed with immunizations. Immunizing health care providers’ aids guard their health and stop disease spread amid patients and health workers, and health workers and relatives outside the place of work.
Routine Immunizations Recommended for Health Care Providers
Immunizations suggested for health care providers include diphtheria, tetanus, polio, varicella, influenza, acellular pertussis and Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) (Ayers, 1998). Some of these vaccines are freely provided to health care providers. Most workers access immunizations through their home community health centers.
This virus subsists for just a few hours and can be eradicated through appropriate grooming values and, if the contact is not more than two weeks old, serum can be used to avoid contagion. Avoidance of hepatitis A is as easy as cleaning hands and ascertaining that infected persons do not prepare meals.
CMV illness can be infectious if the infected individual comes in close contact with another individual. To avoid this infection, do not kiss or have sex with a person suffering from the ailment. When preparing organ transplants or blood transfusions, the CMV position of the donor should be examined to shun transmitting CMV to a receiver who is not infected.
Diphtheria and Tetanus
Diphtheria is most widespread and most rigorous in unvaccinated or partially vaccinated persons. Shield from vaccine reduces over time except when intermittent boosters are used. Vaccination against tetanus and diphtheria is proposed for all grown ups in most nations. The immunizations may be administered earlier in the occasion of a profound bite or wound.
Whooping cough or pertussis is an extremely infectious illness of the throat and lungs. Resistance from childhood immunizations containing pertussis decline with duration, hence, it is suggested that health care workers obtain one dose of youth/grown-up acellular pertussis. Acellular pertussis is usually merged with diphtheria and tetanus, so it can be used in position of regular diphtheria or tetanus boosters (Family Doctor, 2011).
Tuberculosis can be prevented by appropriate ventilation of rooms. Health care providers should also ensure that they take proper diet so as to ensure that their immune system is strong to fight microbes associated with TB. If acquired, it should be treated with antibiotics.
Measles, Rubella and Mumps
Measles is an extremely infectious illness that is rigorous in newborns, kids and adults who have destabilized immune structures. Health care providers who are over forty years old must have one of these: certification of physician-diagnosed measles, evidence of two measles immunizations or laboratory proof of resistance against measles illness (Bloom,2005).Persons aged over forty years have possibly had measles infection and are, hence, deemed protected.
Mumps is a serene illness. Nevertheless, problems such as encephalitis or soreness of the mind are widespread in grown-ups. Persons are deemed secure from mumps infection if they are more than forty years old, own evidence of one dose of mumps vaccine and serologic confirmation of resistance or a record of laboratory-verified mumps illness (California Health Care Foundation, 2005).
Persons are deemed shielded against rubella disease if they have evidence of one dose of rubella immunization or laboratory certification of rubella protection (Bloom, 2005). Rubella epidemic in health care institutions is of exacting concern because of the possible spread to expectant health care workers and patients.
Rubella vaccine is suggested for unguarded health care workers who may put other pregnant women at risk of contacting rubella through regular face-to-face touch (Bloom, 2005). Health workers are supposed to be offered two doses of measles-mumps-rubella immunizations free of charge (California Health Care Foundation, 2005).
Meningitis epidemics are best controlled by vaccinations. However, if contacted, one should begin antibiotic treatment. Health care providers should employ scrupulous hygiene practices, for example, washing hands frequently.
Hepatitis B Virus Infection
Hepatitis B vaccine is suggested for health care workers who might have contact with body fluids, blood or open skin. The probability of spread of Hepatitis B virus to a health care worker from an extremely transmittable source, for instance a needle stick, is said to be 19-40 per cent (Health Council of Canada, 2006).
Persons are deemed resistant if they have finished a sequence of Hepatitis B immunizations, and one recognized lab test that demonstrates they have acquired adequate resistance to the virus. Individuals who fail to acquire immunity to the first vaccine sequence are supposed to be presented a second sequence of vaccine with an examination for antibodies to confirm immunity, to be executed one to six months following conclusion of the vaccine sequence.
Any health care worker who becomes exposed to Hepatitis B virus must consult the local community health centre, Occupational Health department or a family physician for suitable screening, examination and actions to stop the transmission of the infection (Institute of Medicine, 2001).
Hepatitis B can also be managed by utilizing general safety measures, using private toiletry items, excellent hygiene practices, and refraining from sexual actions.
Chickenpox illness is apt to be rigorous in grown ups. Proof of shield against varicella illness consists of a self-reported account or physician identification of herpes zoster or varicella illness, laboratory certification of resistance, or certification of two dosages of live varicella immunization for grown ups. Varicella immunization is presented to health care workers who lack shield against chickenpox illness. One should take two dosages of immunizations in between two months.
Health care providers must wear gloves so as to avoid contact with blood or body fluids from the patient. Needle sticks used to inject these patients should also be handled properly to avoid infection.
Every health care worker is at risk of obtaining and transmitting the influenza virus to relatives, patients and buddies. It is vital to avoid disease communication to individuals at high danger of influenza-linked problems, for example, those with declined immune structures, pulmonary mayhems, chronic health issues and the aged.
Influenza immunization of health care workers is known to decrease the sickness and bereavement of patients under their treatment in long-term situations, and worker infections in the influenza period. Yearly influenza vaccine should be presented to health care workers.
In case, some health care providers are infected, and they decide to leave, new employees can be recruited to reduce workload on those who remain (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003). This will ensure that efficiency is maintained and that overall profitability of the institution does not crumble. It will also be able to compete globally.
The Comprehensive Paper
Workers in current health care surroundings are usually exposed to numerous infections. Some of these infections include Tuberculosis, whooping cough, measles, chicken pox, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, Influenza, HIV/AID, meningitis and CMV.
” TB is spread through the air when a person with TB sneezes, coughs or talks” (Medline Plus, 2011). So as, to prevent it, there should be appropriate ventilation of rooms. Health care providers should also ensure that they take proper diet so as to ensure that their immune system is strong to fight microbes associated with TB. If acquired, it should be treated with antibiotics.
Whooping cough/ pertussis is a communicable bacterial infection that leads to unmanageable coughing. Since resistance from childhood immunizations containing pertussis decline with duration, health care workers, obtain one dose of youth/grown-up acellular pertussis, in order to be secure from this ailment.
Measles is transmitted by contact with fluids from the mouth, nose or throat of an ill person (Manning, 2005). If a health care provider has never been infected with this infection, he/she should seek immunization. Health care providers who are over forty years old have possibly had measles infection and are, hence, deemed protected (Health Council of Canada, 2006).
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) can be transmitted by sexual contact, organ transplants, respiratory droplets, blood transfusions, saliva and urine. Health care providers should refrain from getting into contact with body fluids of the infected persons.
Every health care worker is at risk of obtaining and transmitting the influenza virus to relatives, patients and buddies. Hence, each of them should be immunized against the infection.
Chickenpox is an illness caused by virus in which an individual grows extremely tickly blisters in the entire body. Health care providers should all be immunized against this virus.
Hepatitis A and B and C can be prevented by appropriate hygiene and vaccinations (World Health Organization, 2005). Mump infections are highly contagious. They can be prevented by vaccinations. HIV contact mostly occurs through the nose, mouth, eye or skin and exposure through cuts or needle sticks infected with the virus. Health care providers must wear gloves so as to avoid contact with blood or body fluids from the patient.
Needle sticks used to inject these patients should also be handled properly to avoid infection. Rubella illness in adults may lead to inflammation and ache in the joints (Leape, 1994). Rubella vaccine is suggested for unguarded health care workers, who may put other pregnant women at risk of contacting rubella through regular face-to-face touch. Any person can acquire meningitis, although it is widespread in persons whose bodies have low immune systems.
Health care providers should employ appropriate hygiene practices, for example, washing hands frequently so as to prevent infection (California Health Care Foundation, 2005). If infected, one can use antibiotics for treatment. Diphtheria and tetanus are both severe infectious illness that affect health care providers. Vaccinations against tetanus and diphtheria are proposed for all health care providers in most nations.
In case, some health care providers are so infected that they can no longer be retained in their various positions, new employees can be recruited to reduce workload on those who remain. This will ensure that efficiency is maintained and that overall profitability of the institution does not crumble. This will also aid in maintaining the competitive position of the health institution, since few losses will be incurred.
Ayers, M. (1998).Communicable diseases: legal and ethical issues facing the health provider. Retrieved on 2nd November 2011 from http://www.usfa.fema.gov/pdf/efop/efo29000.pdf
Bloom, R. (2005). Public health in transition. Scientific American, 293(3), 92-99.
California Health Care Foundation (2005). National Private health survey. Retrieved on 2nd November 2011 from http://www.chcf. org/topics/view.cfm?itemID=115694
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2003). The power of prevention: reducing the health and economic burden of chronic disease. Atlanta: Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Family Doctor (2011). Health care workers: avoiding infections at work. Retrieved on 2nd November 2011 from http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/prevention-wellness/staying-healthy/occupational-health/health-care-workers-avoiding-infections-at-work.html
Health Council of Canada (2006). Health care renewal in Canada – clearing the road to quality. Toronto: Health Council of Canada
Institute of Medicine (2001). Crossing the quality chasm: a new health system for the 21st century. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
Leape, L. (1994). Health care providers. Journal of the American Medical Association, 272(23), 1851-57.
Manning, J. & Ron P. (2005). Prioritization: rationing health care in New Zealand. Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethic, 33(4), 681-97.
Medline Plus (2011). Infection control. Retrieved on 2nd November 2011 from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/infectioncontrol.html
Van Der Weyden, B. (2005). The Bundaberg Hospital issues: the need for reform in Queensland and beyond. Medical Journal of Australia,? 183(6),284-85.
World Health Organization (2005). Preventing chronic disease: a vital investment. Geneva: World Health Organization.