With more diagnoses in Texas, U.S. hospitals are arming themselves against Ebola.
The Ebola epidemic has shaken up our country, forcing us to question whether or not we are ready and able to combat such a virus. Although the CDC has been reassuring citizens that Ebola isn’t a major threat, the death of Thomas Eric Duncan and the diagnosis of a Dallas healthcare worker has convinced us otherwise.
In an attempt to combat the rapidly mutating Ebola virus, representatives from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have traveled to and from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital to aid in the hospital’s infection prevention.
"As that team continues to investigate what happened [at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital], it will be used as a lesson learned experience," a representative from the CDC said. "We are really trying to help health care workers understand the principles [they] need to follow and why, and how to do them."
Here are the 5 actions that hospitals need to take when handling Ebola patients, according to the CDC:
Appoint a Lead Manager: "[Treating Ebola] can be done safely, but it’s hard to do safely," says Dr. Tom Frieden, the Director of the CDC. Appointing someone to ensure that hospital protocols are being fulfilled will help the staff treat patients while still protecting themselves and the public.
Follow the Example of Top Hospitals: Throughout the week, physicians from the country’s top hospitals will be holding conferences to give healthcare professionals the training they need to treat Ebola.
Obtain Patient’s Travel History: Healthcare workers should consider Ebola in any patient admitted for a severe headache, fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or unexplained bleeding or bruising. Especially if that patient has traveled to any of the three Ebola-stricken countries, (Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone) suggests the CDC.
Isolate Immediately: Similarly, a patient with these symptoms should be "isolated in a single room (with a private bathroom), and healthcare personnel should follow standard, contact, and droplet precautions, including the use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)," according to the CDC.
Be Protected: Hospital workers should always be wearing their PPE, especially in situations where bodily fluids (such as blood or feces) are involved. This PPE includes gowns, gloves, eye protection (goggles or face shield), and a face mask.