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Hospital Employee Health – December 1, 2019

December 1, 2019

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  • NIOSH: Masks as Protective as Respirators Against Influenza

    In findings that have implications for the next influenza pandemic, the authors of a decade-long study of real-world use of respiratory protection by healthcare workers found no difference between N95 respirators and standard surgical masks. The study, which included clinicians but was led by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health was conducted at 137 outpatient sites at seven U.S. medical centers between September 2011 and May 2015, with final follow-up in June 2016.

  • CDC Finalizes Employee Health Guidelines for Healthcare Worker Infections

    The CDC has finalized new infection control guidelines for healthcare workers, putting the onus on hospital administration to provide employee health resources to prevent recurrent problems like presenteeism. The longstanding problem of presenteeism was recently documented in a study that showed that healthcare staff in nine hospitals worked an average of two days with upper respiratory symptoms during flu seasons.

  • What the Return of Measles Means for Employee Health

    As of Oct. 3, 2019, there have been 1,250 confirmed cases of measles this year in 31 states, the CDC reports. Vaccine avoidance based on misinformation and unfounded fears is the main reason for the return of this once-eradicated disease in the United States. Facing the possibility of outbreaks or chaotic introductions of even a single case, many facilities are reviewing their healthcare personnel immunity status and furlough policies for measles.

  • NIOSH Updates Opioid Exposure Guidance for EMTs

    The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety has published a new toolkit with recommendations and resources for protecting EMTs and first responders from exposure to powerful illicit drugs like fentanyl.

  • Researchers Find Link Between Hospital Cleaners and COPD

    Exposure to disinfectants and cleaning products in the hospitals over time puts nurses at increased risk of developing COPD, investigators reported. Previously, exposure to disinfectants in healthcare workers has been associated with respiratory health outcomes, including asthma. Moreover, pathogens like spore-forming Clostridioides difficile and emerging Candida auris require strong disinfectants to remove from surfaces.

  • Assessing Food Allergies in Healthcare Workers

    As reflected in a survey of the general population, more than 10% of healthcare workers may have a food allergy. The study authors found a higher rate of food allergies in women. Employee health professionals may want to take note of this finding in health assessments of nursing staff.