Infection Control | Hastings Prince Edward Public Health

Infection Control

Pertussis Advisory - November 22, 2017

There have been two confirmed cases of pertussis (whooping cough) in students at two schools in the Centre Hastings area.

Pertussis is spread easily through coughing or sneezing by an infected person. Pertussis is most contagious during the first two weeks of illness.

Please contact your health care provider if you or your child develops signs of pertussis. Pertussis usually begins with a runny nose and cough. The cough may become more frequent and severe after the first 1-2 weeks. The cough may end in gagging, vomiting, or trouble breathing and a high pitched whooping sound can be heard when breathing in.

Unimmunized and partially immunized individuals are at risk, as well as previously immunized adolescents and adults due to waning immunity. Pertussis vaccine is due at 4-6 years of age and again at 14-16 years of age. Parents are encouraged to review their child's immunization record. If children are due for their pertussis vaccine, it is recommended they be immunized by their family doctor or at a Public Health clinic. Visit the Immunization Clinic page for more information, or call 613-966-5500, extension 221 to book an immunization appointment.

For more information about pertussis, visit the Pertussis Fact Sheet.

Infection Prevention and Control Lapse Disclosures

The Ministry of Health and Long  Term Care has directed all public health units to publicly disclose more detailed information on non-routine infection prevention and control (IPAC) lapse investigations where they are identified. An IPAC lapse is a departure from infection prevention and control standards. The result could be infectious disease transmission to patients or staff through exposure to blood or body fluids.  An example would be medical equipment that is improperly cleaned and can spread infections from one patient to another. Information about IPAC investigations in HPEPH can be found on our Infection Prevention and Control Lapse Reporting Page.

Childcare Centres & Schools

Children in child care centres and schools are more prone to infection.  A higher number of respiratory and enteric illnesses occur in these settings. To help prevent the spread of communicable diseases in child care centres and schools:

1. Have your children immunized.
2. Keep ill children home until they are well enough to participate in all activities.
3. Teach children good personal hygiene, including handwashing, not sharing personal items, and coughing or sneezing into a tissue or their elbow.

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Hygiene Etiquette

Hygiene etiquette involves practices that prevent the spread of illness and disease. A critical time to practice good hygiene etiquette is when you are sick, especially when coughing or sneezing. 

 To help stop the spread of germs:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or use your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
  • Put your used tissue in a waste basket.
  • If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
  • Wash your hands frequently with either soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).

If you are ill, you should try to distance yourself from others so you do not spread your germs. Distancing includes staying home from work or school when possible.

Immunization Services

Mandatory Blood Testing

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health is required to follow the Mandatory Blood Testing Act (2006) of Ontario.

The Act permits anyone that may have come into contact with blood or body fluids of another person, as a result of being a victim of crime, an emergency service worker, or Good Samaritan (emergency first aid provider), to have the blood of the other person tested. The sample is tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

There are a number of requirements that have to be met before the Medical Officer of Health will accept the application and there are strict timelines that need to be followed.

For more information, call our Communicable Disease Intake Line at (613) 966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 349.

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Safer Needle Use

Needle Exchange Sites

Needle Exchange sites are places where individuals can obtain new needles, sterile water, alcohol swabs, cookers, filters, ascorbic acid, and tourniquets, as well as sharps containers for safe disposal of used needles and cookers. These sharps containers can then be returned to any participating exchange site for safe disposal.

For more information, call (613) 966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 349.

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Sexual Health

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health provides testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Testing is easy and is free of charge. 

STIs can pass from person to person by having sexual contact (genital skin to skin or oral, vaginal or anal sex), or blood contact. Some STIs can be effectively treated with medication, but the infection can return. Serious consequences can result when an STI is left untreated.

It is highly recommended that sexually active individuals are vaccinated against HPV, Hepatitis A, and Hepatitis B. It is also recommended that you use condoms with every act of sexual contact from beginning to end, and that you limit the number of people with whom you have sexual relations.

See your health care provider or visit one of our sexual health clinics for testing. Click here for our calendar.

For more information on STI and pap testing, call the Sexual Health Intake Line at (613) 966-5500 or 1-800-276-2803, ext. 243.

Tattoos, Piercings, Aesthetic Services

Personal services settings include any place that offers aesthetic services such as body piercing, tattooing, nail care, hair removal, and hairstyling. Hastings Prince Edward Public Health inspectors regularly visit personal services settings in our region to assess the potential for risk - to clients and workers - of acquiring infections during the delivery of these services. Our inspectors provide guidance on infection prevention and control according to the requirements and recommendations described in the Infection Prevention and Control Best Practices for Personal Services Settings (Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care).