AAD issues guidance on COVID-19 for dermatologists
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the American Academy of Dermatology has issued recommendations for providers aimed at keeping their patients and practice staff safe.
Based on guidance from the CDC and WHO, the AAD recommends that practices place additional hand sanitizers and wipes in all populated rooms in the clinic to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. It is important to continue proper hygiene by cleaning hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub between every encounter and entrance and exit in the exam room and to practice social distancing whenever possible through nodding, smiling and waving instead of shaking hands. All patients should be educated on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 infection, with the request that they inform their primary care physician if symptoms develop or if they are exposed to anyone who may have been in contact with the disease.
The WHO recommends the use of 70% ethyl alcohol to disinfect popular clinical areas between uses and sodium hypochlorite 0.5% to disinfect common surfaces.
Common areas should be sanitized between patients and at the end of each day:
- exam room tabletops, countertops, exam beds, exam tables, doorknobs, exam light buttons and handles, chairs and faucet handles;
- all bathroom surfaces including urine sample pass-through areas and toilets;
- all countertop surfaces and chairs in the reception area;
- all surfaces and chairs in the office; and
- all surfaces and countertops in the lab.
Screening recommendations help to minimize exposure:
- Ask patients if they have any respiratory infection symptoms or if they have been in contact with others diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19. If the patient has symptoms or recent possible exposures, reschedule noncritical appointments.
- If unable to reschedule, provide the patient with a mask, isolate the patient in an examination room and notify any staff caring for the patient.
- For all patients regardless of symptoms or exposure, limit entry points and ensure patients adhere to proper respiratory hygiene, cough etiquette and hand hygiene.
In addition, the FDA recommends conservation strategies to assist health care practices and organizations with supply levels of surgical masks, surgical and isolation gowns, and surgical suits.
The AAD has cancelled its annual meeting due to COVID-19 and will ensure members receive information about the research, knowledge and insights that were to be delivered at the meeting.