The Dangers of Respiratory Droplets to Frontline Health Care Providers
A paper examines how these droplets are transmitted and ways to protect these providers from COVID-19.
For health care providers on the front lines of the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, they are treating severely sick, hospitalized patients and it puts these essential workers in harm’s way. They are having to perform procedures where it can induce coughing, which then can release aerosol generating procedures (AGPs).
Rajiv Dhand, MD, professor and chair, Department of Medicine and associate dean of clinical affairs, University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine recently co-authored a paper titled, "Coughs and Sneezes: Their Role in Transmission of Respiratory Viral Infections, Including SARS-CoV-2," which appeared in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
“AGPs such as intubation, bronchoscopy, physiotherapy and suctioning generate potential infectious bioaerosols by provoking coughs and are associated with increased infection rates among employees working in health care," the authors wrote.
In the paper, they describe the various types and sizes of virus-containing droplets present in sneezes and coughs, the locations in the respiratory systems where they deposit, and how certain medical procedures and devices may spread these droplets and the risks for health care professionals.
in the second segment of a two-part interview with Contagion®, Dhand goes in-depth with his findings including what procedures have the highest risks of AGPs and offers some suggestions on the different levels of PPE depending on the procedure.