Sunday, January 6, 2008

Limit Influenza Spread in Family

Influenza is transmitted predominantly from person to person through infectious respiratory droplets

Although more than 70 years have passed since influenza A was discovered, debate continues over its mode of transmission; specifically, whether influenza is transmitted via airborne contact, respiratory droplets, or direct contact, or via a combination of these routes.

Possible modes of respiratory virus transmission include the following (Brankston, 2007):

  • Direct physical contact between an infected individual and a susceptible host, resulting in the transfer of microorganisms

  • Indirect contact via an intermediate object that is touched by the infected individual and is not cleaned prior to coming in contact with a susceptible host

  • Droplet transmission (drops ≥ 5 mcm in diameter) via sneezing, coughing, or speaking; these droplets are propelled < 1 m through the air and come in contact with the oral, nasal, or conjunctival mucosa of a susceptible host (ie, they do not remain suspended in the air)

  • Airborne transmission via aerosolization (airborne particles ≤ 5 mcm in diameter); organisms are contained in droplets or in dust particles and remain suspended in the air for long periods of time


Some basic principles to help prevent the spread of influenza include:
1) avoid close contact with people who are sick;
2) stay home when you are sick;
3) cover mouth and nose when sneezing;
4) wash hands frequently;
5) avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth while you are sick; and
6) get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

Influenza virus survives on the hands for < 5 minutes but regular hand washing is a commonsense action that should be widely followed (Inglesby, 2006).

The impact of influenza can vary from year to year and be influenced by the circulating strains and protective antibody levels in the population. However, the efficacy of influenza vaccine among children in preventing laboratory-confirmed influenza is estimated to be 80%

School-age children and young adults who are completely susceptible experience the highest incidence of infection and contribute most of the spread of infection during an epidemic.

source: Medscape's Medpulse CME
Limiting the Spread of Influenza in a Family Setting to Reduce Secondary Infections

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