We cannot overemphasize this enough to the public: Stay Home, Stay Healthy.
And yet, we cannot be too careful. And we reiterate the call for dentists to be vigilant, intentional and follow the recommendations of the World Health Organization, the advice of centers for disease control and prevention here and abroad, as well as our very own Philippine Dental Association and, for added information, the American Dental Association (ADA).
This is to be on the safe side until we have a better understanding of this disease and a vaccine is available.
The ADA, for example, has standard precautions that include hand hygiene. It also strongly recommends the use of personal protective equipment (gloves, masks and eyewear).
It promotes respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette.
The ADA also encourages safety engineering and work practice controls as well as safe injection practices such as aseptic technique for parenteral medications.
Dental instruments and devices must always be sterile. Environmental surfaces must be clean and disinfected.
In addition, obtaining a thorough travel and health history is vital in helping to identify any potential patients that could be at risk for COVID-19.
When confirming appointments, offices should consider having a dialogue with patients about any health changes or recent travel.
The ADA recommends strongly that for safety’s sake and to help prevent spreading communicable diseases, dentists should reschedule any patients who present any flu-like symptoms.
Patients – everybody, indeed – are advised to be intentional about avoiding big crowds of people (especially if you are over 60 years old) and not to touch the eyes, mouth or nose with unwashed hands.
When you do wash your hands, use soap and water for at least 20 seconds after contact with patients.
An alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60 percent alcohol is acceptable if soap and water are not readily available.
Stay home if you are sick, cover your sneezes and coughs with a tissue and dispose of it in the trash. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects.
There. It’s been said before and we will say it again and again. For safety’s sake./WDJ