It’s that time of year again – the air is getting crisper, the sun is setting earlier, the kids are back in school – and unfortunately, that means cold and flu season is right around the corner. Your dental office is always a clean, sterile environment; but what dental supplies (and extra steps) can you use this flu season to ensure that both your team and your patients stay healthy?
Tips to Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season
The most crucial step in fighting germs this cold and flu season (and also the easiest) is washing your hands regularly. Unfortunately, it’s sometimes viewed as an inconvenience and overlooked. Remind your staff to wash their hands frequently – when arriving to the office, before seeing a patient, in between dental cleanings, after seeing a patient, before leaving for the day – they really can’t overdo it. Create small signs to display in the office to reinforce these important steps:
- Wet hands, apply antibacterial soap and lather well
- Rub hands together well for 20 seconds (sing “Happy Birthday” twice!)
- Rinse hands completely
- Dry hands with a clean towel
Take it a step further during peak cold and flu season and use a hand sanitizer after washing your hands. It is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to use an alcohol-based sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to be most effective. Clorox Anywhere Hand Sanitizing Spray, for example, contains 71% ethyl alcohol; it’s also available in a variety of sizes so you can provide it for both your dental staff and in your patient waiting room.
Dental Supplies to Keep Patients and Staff Healthy
Have you ever noticed just how much spatter is on your safety glasses after a procedure? Have you ever wondered where all that debris would end up if you weren’t utilizing proper infection control supplies and procedures?
Gross, right? Even so, keep this disturbing image in mind when you’re working. It is not only important to wear proper safety gear – your protective eyewear, face mask, and exam gloves – but it’s imperative to disinfect and/or dispose of these tools properly in between patients. Change your mask after each procedure and wipe down your eyewear with an alcohol-based towelette for easy cleaning. For added protection, wear a full-face shield – but keep in mind, wearing a face mask and frequent disinfection is still necessary.
Essential Sterilants and Disinfectants for Cold and Flu Season
Fall is also the perfect time of year to ensure your autoclave is functioning properly. Whether you use an in-office biological monitoring system or a monthly mail-in sterilizer monitoring service, it’s crucial to maintain an effective autoclave unit. Identifying any potential issues with your sterilization process (before they become issues) can keep your patients, your staff, and your families healthy all year.
Using the proper disinfectant is also helpful on any intraoral appliances to ensure germs aren’t spread from patient to patient. Exceptionally fast and effective, CaviCide1 is TotalCare’s next generation EPA-approved surface disinfectant designed to clean and disinfect hard, non-porous surfaces in the dental clinical working environment in 1 minute.
We know you’re busy – that’s why SmartPractice has all your infection control needs taken care of. Give us a call or visit us online to make sure your dental office is stocked up for cold and flu season. Choose from a wide variety of disposable dental supply items, infection control barriers, and sterilants.
Do you take any other additional precautions during cold and flu season? What are some of your go-to dental supplies this time of year? Let us know in the comments!