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Preventing The Spread Of Seasonal Viruses

Jun 14, 2022 9:20:00 AM posted in Infection Prevention, Exam Gloves

Since its start at the end of 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has dominated global public health news. As the COVID-19 cases surge and wane with each variant, it’s easy to forget that there are other viruses lurking in the environment. Seasonal viruses, such as the common cold virus, rhinovirus, influenza (flu), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and norovirus  share symptoms with COVID-19. As Dr. Abdul El-Sayed stated in this interview, the only way to be sure if a sick person has COVID-19—rather than the flu, for example—is with a test.

 

Seasonal Viruses Are on the Rise

As indicated in this PLOS article, different infectious diseases tend to occur at different times of the year and so can be commonly considered as seasonal. COVID prevention measures, such as hand washing, masking, social distancing, canceling in-person events, stay-at-home orders, and school closures, tended to suppress opportunities for the usual seasonal viruses to spread.

But then the  public health measures were downgraded from mandatory to strongly encouraged to optional for public spaces. When people resumed their normal activities and no longer committed to stringent infection control practices, they gave non-COVID viruses (and COVID) a better chance of re-emerging.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  reports that the incidence of common seasonal respiratory illnesses from flu and RSV declined at the start of the pandemic, in March 2020, and stayed at historically low levels through the spring of 2021. In  March 2022, the CDC warned that national flu rates are climbing again.

Norovirus outbreaks are also increasing. The  CDC reported 698 norovirus outbreaks between August 2021 and early April 2022, as compared to only 173 outbreaks reported for the same time period in the previous year.

 

Preventing the spread of seasonal viruses

The COVID-19 pandemic has made most of us more committed to washing our hands and sanitizing our environment. Even though COVID-19 is mainly an  airborne disease, households and businesses are putting greater efforts into cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.

Besides infection through close contact, another characteristic that seasonal viruses have in common is their ability to  live for hours, or days on porous and solid surfaces. People touch the contaminated item or surface and then infect themselves or others by touching their eyes, nose, or mouth. Therefore, hand washing, proper use of gloves, and diligent cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces are so very important for stopping the spread of seasonal viruses.

 

Non-COVID Seasonal Viruses

Here is a listing of seasonal viruses, common symptoms, how the virus spreads, and how to prevent the spread of infection:

Seasonal virus

Common symptoms (in adults)

How the virus spreads

How to prevent the spread of infection

Influenza (flu)

 

Fever, cough, headache,

body aches, fatigue, chest discomfort

Close contact with the infected person,

airborne droplets, contaminated surfaces

 

Flu vaccine,

proper hand hygiene, disinfecting of     contaminated surfaces

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)

Fever, cough, runny nose, sneezing, wheezing

Close contact with the infected person,

airborne droplets, contaminated surfaces

 

Proper hand hygiene, disinfecting of contaminated surfaces

Common cold coronavirus,

rhinovirus

Runny nose, cough, nasal congestion, sore throat, sneezing

Close contact with the infected person,

airborne droplets, contaminated surfaces

 

Proper hand hygiene, disinfecting of contaminated surfaces

Norovirus

Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain

Close contact with infected person, contaminated food, contaminated surfaces

Proper hand hygiene (wash hands with soap, do not use hand sanitizer),

disinfection of contaminated surfaces

 

Sources:  https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2022/01/it-flu-covid-19-allergies-or-cold 

https://www.cdc.gov/rsv/about/symptoms.html 

https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/news/20220404/covid-19-cases-remain-low-stomach-flu-outbreaks-rise 

Protect yourself from viruses by using disposable gloves

If you’re taking care of someone who is ill, protect yourself by avoiding close contact with the infected person, if possible. Wear a mask. Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Wash your hands often, especially before and after providing care, even if you were wearing gloves. As a caregiver,  wear disposable gloves whenever you need to:

  •   Clean up an infected person’s bodily fluids or waste
  •   Handle the infected person’s dirty clothes or bed linens
  •   Clean and disinfect the immediate area around the infected person or the general surroundings

Remove the gloves carefully to prevent self-contamination and dispose of them properly. Do not reuse disposable medical gloves. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15-20 seconds.

 

Ventyv® brand medical gloves give you the infection protection you need

Sri Trang USA offers a full line of Ventyv® brand disposable medical gloves. We are a leading global glove manufacturer that provides consistent, quality products to keep wearers and patients protected. Ventyv products are preventing infection and saving lives every day. Together, we can Outsmart Infection®.

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