The COVID-19 scare prevails! And, bureaucrats in India are taking stringent actions to combat the menace. This is not just an India issue, but COVID-19 has cast a shadow over the world.
Amid this, ensuring the safety of patients and practice staff, American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has reportedly issued recommendations for providers. Basis guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US and World Health Organisation (WHO), secondary research reveals the following recommendation from AAD:
Practices place additional hand sanitisers and wipes in all populated rooms in the clinic to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. It is important to continue proper hygiene by cleaning hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub between every encounter and entrance and exit in the exam room and to practice social distancing whenever possible through nodding, smiling and waving instead of shaking hands. All patients should be educated on the signs and symptoms of the COVID-19 infection, with the request that they inform their primary care physician if symptoms develop or if they are exposed to anyone who may have been in contact with the disease.
The WHO recommends the use of 70 per cent ethyl alcohol to disinfect popular clinical areas between uses and sodium hypochlorite 0.5 per cent to disinfect common surfaces.
Common areas should be sanitised between patients and at the end of each day: Exam room tabletops, countertops, exam beds, exam tables, doorknobs, exam light buttons and handles, chairs and faucet handles; all bathroom surfaces including urine sample pass-through areas and toilets; all countertop surfaces and chairs in the reception area; all surfaces and chairs in the office; and all surfaces and countertops in the lab.
Screening recommendations help to minimise exposure: Ask patients if they have any respiratory infection symptoms or if they have been in contact with others diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19. If the patient has symptoms or recent possible exposures, reschedule noncritical appointments. If unable to reschedule, provide the patient with a mask, isolate the patient in an examination room and notify any staff caring for the patient. For all patients regardless of symptoms or exposure, limit entry points and ensure patients adhere to proper respiratory hygiene, cough etiquette and hand hygiene.
In addition, the FDA has reportedly recommended conservation strategies to assist healthcare practices and organisations with supply levels of surgical masks, surgical and isolation gowns, and surgical suits.
The above recommendations would certainly be applicable to countries across the world, and India’s dermatologists too can create a safety check-list or make additions to their existing list of precautions.