October 16, 2014
Many of you are aware of the news that the Ebola virus has been found in the United States, and others have recently contracted the disease. One of those affected people boarded a Frontier Airlines plane from Dallas, TX to Cleveland, OH. As our members are front-line employees with air carriers and subject to direct contact with aircraft and passengers, we felt it necessary to keep you informed.
It is important to keep in mind that Ebola is not as easily transmitted as other communicable diseases. Still, there are some important precautions that each of you can take as you accomplish your duties:
- Treat any body fluid as though it is infectious.
- Hand hygiene is the single most important infection control measure.
- Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Thorough hand washing is necessary after assisting ill customers, coming in contact with body fluids, or touching surfaces that may be contaminated.
- An alcohol-based hand sanitizer is an alternative to hand washing when soap and water aren’t available. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers will not be effective if hands are visibly soiled.
- Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose.
- Wear impermeable, disposable gloves when physically tending to an ill traveler, coming in contact with body fluids (such as used tissues, blood, vomit, or diarrhea), potentially contaminated surfaces, or lavatories. Disposable gloves do not replace proper hand hygiene, but if worn, should be properly removed and disposed of. Wash hands as soon as possible after removing gloves.
- Review your respective carrier’s blood borne pathogen training.
AMFA strongly advises that you further read and follow the guidelines set forth by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) that you can find by following this link: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/prevention/index.html
AMFA’s leadership has been in contact with both Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines in an effort to stay engaged and up to date on any new policies or procedures that may affect our membership. As of now, we have been assured that they are continuously monitoring the situation, though at this time they believe that there is no impact on the health or safety of our members. Remember that AMFA doesn’t simply believe in the safety of air travel – your personal safety is paramount to us as well.