Clinical CareFeatured

Let’s get ready for cold and flu season

Know our policies and our practices for preventing the spread of germs.



With scorching temperatures, it’s hard to imagine that cold and flu season is just around the corner. Now is a good time to refresh on tips and tricks to stay healthy as kids head back to school and we find ourselves spending more time indoors.

Protect yourself and others

Wash your hands often and thoroughly. Practice sneeze and cough etiquette. Be mindful of high-touch surfaces (like doorknobs or a computer mouse) that become easily contaminated with germs that can be picked up by others’ hands. Wipe surfaces and equipment after each use with an appropriate Asante-approved disinfectant following manufacturer’s instructions for use. Stay up to date on your vaccinations (e.g., seasonal flu and COVID boosters).

Follow standard precautions, including consideration for wearing a simple mask when treating or near patients with signs or symptoms of respiratory illness. While not mandated or required, staff also have the option to wear an N95 for source control.

Adhere to transmission-based isolation precautions when caring for patients with suspected or confirmed infections, including wearing an N95 and eye protection where indicated, especially when performing aerosol-generating procedures.

Staff who are required to wear respiratory protection (e.g., N95 or CAPR) as part of their job duties must complete annual fit testing and training per policy. Now is a good time to check your records to determine if you are due for testing and training. Contact your leader for assistance. Employee Health is a resource for leader questions.

When you are ill

Do not come to work when you are sick. Whether a cold, flu, COVID-19 or other, report your illness to Employee Health and do not return to work until cleared. This step slows the spread of infectious diseases to your colleagues, patients and community.

With the end of the public health emergency, COVID-19 is part of our new normal. Exposure notifications and contract tracing for COVID-19 are no longer in effect. Leaders should direct employees experiencing illness to Employee Health.

When your patients are ill

Follow isolation precautions and protect yourself wearing the required PPE as illustrated on the posted isolation sign. If no isolation order has been placed, contact the provider for their assistant to appropriately isolate the patient. Patients exhibiting respiratory symptoms may be asked by the unit or clinic to wear a clinical mask for source control (section N).

Refer to unit or clinic specific policies and procedures for more details. For instance, family birth’s policy for Care of Newborns of Mothers with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 or BHU’s policy Infection Prevention and Control in the Inpatient Behavioral Health Setting. Consult with your area leader for assistance navigating more complex scenarios.

When visitors want to visit

Consult the visitor reference sheet for general guidelines. Visitors may be asked by the unit or clinic to wear a simple mask for source control (section O).  Consult with your area leader for assistance navigating more complex scenarios.

Visitor restriction implemented in the height of COVID-19 were sunset in March.

Taking the actions as described above can protect yourself and others and help stop the spread of germs this cold and flu season.


Log into the Asante network to access policies.

400-IC-IC-0109 Standard Precautions and Environmental Guidelines
400-IC-IC-0631 Environmental Cleaning in Patient Care Areas
400-IC-IC-0629 Transmission-based Isolation Precautions
400-INF-0013 Isolation Requirements
400-N-1138 Isolation Precautions: Visitor Reference Sheet
Wash your hands! Our patients depend on you, Jul 25, 2023
400-IC-IC-0004 Hand Hygiene
400-NPD-0039 Hand Hygiene Fast Facts
400-WKH-EH-0317 Respiratory Protection Program
400-WKH-EH-0307 Work Restrictions for Healthcare Workers Exposed to or Infected with Infectious Diseases
With masking rule lifted, Asante returns to pre-COVID practices March 31, 2023
Asante to halt screening, lift visitor restrictions March 29, 2022
100-NICU-0668 Care of Newborns of Mother’s with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19
100-PCS-BHU-1002 Infection Prevention and Control in the Inpatient Behavioral Health Setting

Tags: cold, flu, infection prevention, policies
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If you need answers for a personal work matter, please contact the author or department directly instead of leaving a comment.

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