The type A flu (H1N1) has been one of the main concerns for the population this days. Usually the different types of flus happen during the winter season, but this year some occurrences of the H1N1 flu was already reported during summer in Brazil. This way, dentists and the health professionals must be extra careful at their dental offices.
The dentist keeps direct contact with the patients during treatment, which brings opportunities for the transmission of the H1N1 virus, once this transmission normally happens via respiratory secretions, mainly via cough and sneeze of the infected person. The use of masks is essential for prevention.
The transmission can also happen via direct contact with the contaminated person´s belongings and for this reason, it is fundamental that the dentists adopt specific care in the office. Frequent hand wash with soap and water or alcohol gel and better the airflow in the office are examples of that. Ideally the dentist should postpone the appointment of the patient that is suspect of having H1N1 flu and refer him/she to the doctor.
The Brazilian Society of Infection Studies (SBI) and the Brazilian Medical Association (AMB) produced a Technical Guide on Type A flu (H1N1) with recommendations to the health professional. Another material that can help in the prevention is the Guide of Respiratory Protection against Biological Agents for the Workers in the Health System, made available by the ANVISA (Brazilian Sanitary National Agency).