[Characteristics of infection prevention and coping behavior for seasonal influenza-like illnesses and its relationship to personal characteristics among hospital nurses].Nihon Koshu Eisei Zasshi. 2011 Oct; 58(10):879-94.NK
To describe the infection prevention and coping behavior for seasonal influenza-like illnesses among hospital nurses.
We conducted an anonymous questionnaire survey of 444 nurses in October 2007, who belonged to two hospitals in one city. We investigated their infection prevention behavior (handwashing, gargling, mask-use, influenza vaccination rate, humidification of the room, room ventilation, increased physical strength) and coping behavior (type of coping, elapsed time until taking appropriate action, absent days, recognition of infection source) in one season, and their characteristics (sex, age, division, family).
423 questionnaires were analyzed. Most nurses performed handwashing with soap or a disinfectant. However, only 71% and 53% of nurses regularly did this after blowing their nose or touching any hair. Many used only water. Only 58% of the nurses gargled at home. Except after handling linen, gargling was done by less than 10%. Regarding handwashing or gargling, nurses who performed these before the beginning of duties or any treatment was only in the range from 10-25% which was less than when they finished their duties or treatment. Handwashing before beginning duties was significantly associated with "living together with a family" (odds ratio [95% confidence interval] after adjusting for sex and age) (0.32[0.12-0.84]) and "living together with children who go to school" (0.49[0.24-0.995]), respectively. Gargling after any treatment and gargling at home, room humidification and ventilation were all significantly associated with "living together with babies and infants" (2.36[1.07-5.21], 1.87[1.07-3.27], 2.29[1.32-3.97] and 2.46[1.39-4.36]). Fifty-five% of the nurses regularly wore masks during work. The influenza vaccination rate was 82%. 67% of 51 nurses who had flu-like symptoms responded appropriately within 24 hours after onset. However, 25% of 51 nurses did not consult a doctor, but instead took over-the-counter medicine or rested at home. Some 28% of 51 nurses did not miss any work days, many not wanting to take time off due to insufficient personnel. 22% of the nurses thus were found to become an infection source. At one hospital, it was more necessary to improve coping behavior, while at another hospital, it was more necessary to improve "handwashing before setting the table" and "gargling after handling linen".
These findings suggest that the infection prevention awareness toward patients was lower than self-infection prevention awareness of nurses and that these were related to such members living together as a family and their place of work. Gargling was not sufficiently performed. These results suggest a need to educate nurses about "coughing etiquette", "handwashing before contacting patients", and "gargling at work and home", and to establish an effective medical protocol where the nurses can consult a medical specialist when they suspect they may have an infection themselves.