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CDC Infection Control Guidelines Updated

Standard precautions now include respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette

THURSDAY, March 27 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's updated guidelines on infection control by health care workers restate the standard precautions such as hand hygiene and appropriate protection, but also now incorporate respiratory hygiene and coughing etiquette, according to an article published in the March issue of the AORN Journal.

Shauna Ely Tarrac, R.N., of Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, Calif., writes that standard precautions remain the backbone of infection control to prevent health care workers spreading infectious disease to their colleagues and between patients. As well as basic hand hygiene and safe injection practices, the precautions rely on appropriate use of personal protective equipment such as gowns for exposure to blood and diarrheal drainage, and masks and eye protection for procedures that may produce a cough.

Respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette has been added to the procedures, a factor that was brought to attention by the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2003, the report indicates. Patients and their contacts with undiagnosed transmissible respiratory infection entering a health care facility should be instructed in appropriate hygiene measures to reduce spread of infection, the guidelines state.

"The CDC worked to streamline the existing system and create a new system that would be easy to understand and easy to use," the author writes. "It is from this background that the current guidelines evolved."

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