Single-Use Medical Equipment vs. Coronavirus
As of January 25, 2020, the coronavirus outbreak, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has left 41 people dead in China. The country’s National Health Commission estimates 1,287 people infected. CBS News reported the Chinese government is raising its response level to the highest level – emergency – and closing schools for two weeks, as authorities scramble to contain the deadly outbreak.
Meanwhile, in the US a second coronavirus patient has been confirmed with 63 individuals monitored for the disease in 22 states, per the BBC.
As the concern over this potentially deadly respiratory illness heightens, medical professionals and the general public begin to look closely at risks of contamination and infection.
Our goal with this article is to discuss the coronavirus from the position of a medical care provider. Indeed, we’ll discuss everyday virus control habits, and explain how single-use medical devices can reduce the risk of transmission in your hospital or family practice.
As always, our blogs are meant to be educational and entertaining. We cannot cure coronavirus. If you feel you might be suffering from a lethal form of coronavirus, call 911 or seek professional medical help right away.
About Coronavirus Infections
Not every coronavirus infection is deadly. Indeed, most cases only last a few days. Per the CDC, common human coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses. Your patients may think they suffer from a common cold. Symptoms include:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- A feeling of being unwell
Even the less-fatal versions of coronavirus can lead to secondary respiratory infections, like pneumonia. These complications are more common in folks with heart disease or compromised immune systems.
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Outbreak
The CDC says that early on, many of the coronavirus patients were associated with large seafood and meat markets. This suggests animal-to-person spread. If true, the outbreak is contained with better hygiene practices, animal quarantines, and a focus on fully cooking meats.
However, there is a growing number of patients who have not had exposure at these markets. Thus, the disease spreads from person-to-person. As of January 2020, we’re not sure how easily this virus spreads between people.
- It’s not clear yet how easily 2019-nCoV spreads from person-to-person.
As with other viral respiratory diseases, we can assume a hypothesis that coronavirus spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes small droplets containing infectious agents into the air. Others inhale contagious droplets. Direct contact with a sick patient spreads the virus. Alternatively, indirect contact with tissues by nose and throat discharge spreads the virus.
We should note here that how easily a virus spreads person-to-person can vary remarkably. Some infections are highly contagious, others less so. We don’t know enough about this strain of coronavirus yet.
Prevention & Treatment For Patients
There is no vaccine to prevent infection. The best way to care for your patients is to advise them to avoid exposure. We don’t believe this strain to be spreading in the US as of January 2020, so we don’t have specific precautions for the general public to take. But everyday preventive actions could help prevent the spread. Advise your patients to:
- Stay home from work or school if they feel unwell.
- Avoid close contact with others who seem to be sick.
- Wash their hands thoroughly, and often, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. (Teach your patients how to scrub like a surgeon!)
- Keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer at hand for times when they don’t have access to a washroom.
- Avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue, then dispose of it.
- Disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces at their homes and offices, like telephones, remote controls and doorknobs.
- Limit overseas travel if possible.
The CDC also published particular guidelines for individuals who may be traveling overseas or by airline during the outbreak. In addition to standard prevention habits listed above, the CDC suggests that travelers should avoid outdoor markets and livestock markets.
What if My Patient Was Travelling in China During the Outbreak?
The CDC says “healthcare providers should obtain a detailed travel history for patients with fever and respiratory symptoms.” If your patients have respiratory illness symptoms, were in Wuhan during December 2019, and fell ill within two weeks of leaving, notify your local health department at once.
- The CDC is promoting caution when dealing with potential coronavirus patients.
- Practitioners and staff should take extra precautions when sterilizing equipment or disinfecting areas that may have been associated with coronavirus.
The Benefits of Single-Use Medical Equipment During Epidemics
The 2019-nCoV outbreak isn’t the first incident of a potentially lethal viral outbreak in recent years. MRSA and SARS epidemics come to mind. Thinking further back, we are reminded of massive epidemics like the plague, a disease that is mostly controlled in the US but continues to be problematic in Asia and Africa.
These types of fatal diseases are precisely why obp created revolutionary single-use, self-lighting medical devices for healthcare practitioners to use in the hospital, at your office, and at outside clinics.
Any time a patient is at your practice they bring the risks of contamination and the risks of healthcare-associated infections. In fact, single-use devices reduce these risks!
- By disposing of equipment after using it on an infected patient, healthcare professionals know they are keeping themselves, their staff, their patients, and even their local communities safer from the spread of diseases like coronavirus.
Learn More About Single-Use Medical Equipment Against Coronavirus
For more than a decade, obp has grown and innovated around two guiding principles: to maximize clinical efficiency, and to increase patient safety.
Our products are used at more than 13,000 physician offices, hospitals and surgery centers in the US. Also, outside clinics and healthcare facilities carry our devices.
Our portfolio offers the broadest range of single-use, self-contained, illuminating products available. Collectively, our devices address the entire spectrum of call points and use cases, from the ER to the OR to the office or clinic, for OB/GYNs, surgeons and primary care physicians. Contact us today to learn more about infection control with our single-use, self-lit medical devices.