How to Prevent Flu Outbreaks in Medical and Dental Offices


Preventing the flu is serious business. Every year we are inundated with news of the latest version of Flu panic that will lead to the next pandemic. At least that’s what the media wants you to believe.

Preventing the spread of the flu virus in dentists and or medical doctors offices may seem to be harder than other environments. However, doctors are highly trained in the treatment and care of patients and are likely the best prepared of anyone.

Preventing Flu Outbreak by Staying Home

I think you will find that most dentists will have notices posted and ask patients who are scheduled to come in and are feeling flu symptoms to stay home.  In most cases, they would waive any late cancellation fees to ensure that you do not spread the flu virus throughout their office.  Especially since the dentists and hygienists are working on your mouth.  The last thing they want is to be working on someone who is ill.

Even in the best of health it can be uncomfortable and not fun to have someone work on your mouth. So for yourself it’s always the best policy to cancel your dentist appointment if you are feeling sick. Avoiding contact is the number one way to prevent the spread of any virus.

How to Avoid Catching the Flu From Others That Have It

That being said if you are not sick, you will want to take precautions when going the dentist or doctors office.  The number one technique to prevent the spread of the flu virus is always to be washing hands before and after going to the doctor.

Contain your sneezes and coughs as well.  There are specific techniques that assist with flu prevention, and you can and should use your best efforts to follow those protocols.

If you have a tissue on hand, use it! Be sure to wash your hands after any sneeze or cough. If you have no tissue, contain sneezes and coughs in your sleeve.

It is important to understand that the flu virus not very resilient, or active on hard surfaces or inanimate objects.  The virus just doesn’t survive very long after it has left someones body.  But hand washing after touching surfaces in a doctors office is likely best anyhow.

I think most people are very aware of the importance of not spreading germs in the medical environment.  Still I try to steer clear of people who are visibly sick in a doctors office and always avoid or turn away from sneezers or people coughing.

The flu virus is spread after you touch the virus and then touch your nose, mouth or eyes. Try your best to avoid touching those parts of your face. This can be a challenge since the average person touches their face 3.6 times per hour.

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Understand How the Flu Spreads

Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their mouth, eyes or possibly their nose.

It is also important to understand that you can spread the virus up to a day before you are experiencing symptoms and 5-7 days after getting symptoms. You may spread the virus longer if you have weakened immune systems and take longer to fight off the illness.

So a key recommendation will always be prevention. Look to get immunized before the flu season starts and look to maintain good health habits to help prevent getting the flu to begin with.

The flu can be very unpredictable and the flu season can be influenced by many factors. These factors include how well the flu shot is matched to the virus circulating any given season and the availability of the vaccine.

Protect yourself by ensuring good health habits overall to prevent your susceptibility to illness. Also, stay aware of people around you and avoid being close to people who are showing signs of being sick. If you have to be around them, avoid close contact and avoid touching your face!

By being aware how the flu virus spreads and taking precautions you will significantly reduce your chances of getting sick whether at a doctor or dentist’s office or any other location.

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