The Principles For The Control And Prevention Of Lung Infections

The crowding of people in places such as the evacuation centers could make them vulnerable to the outbreaks of respiratory infections. In most cases, like influenza, the microorganisms can spread very easily and rapidly in these settings resulting in important health consequences for the residents as well as healthcare workers, especially those who are at a high risk of complications due to these infections. 

Here is a brief discussion about the guidance provided by the healthcare authorities for the control and prevention of respiratory infections, especially in residents and workers at the evacuation centers.

Facts about the spread of respiratory infections

Most of the germs known to cause respiratory diseases, including those that cause breathing difficulties, tend to spread by air droplets that are released by the infected person while sneezing and coughing. These bacteria and viruses may spread from one person to another when the uninfected person comes in close contact with the sick person. Most people tend to get infected by touching the objects or surfaces having those germs on them and then, touching their nose or mouth.

Generally, the most effective way to prevent the spread of respiratory infections is to avoid the contact with infected air droplets or the secretions such as the saliva, tears, or mucus.

Precautionary measures that could help prevent the spread include the following:

  • Minimizing close contact with a person who has the symptoms of respiratory infections, such as coughing and sneezing
  • Washing your hands regularly, especially before cooking and eating foods
  • Avoiding the sharing of personal items including the eating and drinking utensils, towels, and toothbrushes. It is advisable to avoid sharing these items with a sick person.
  • Maintaining a clean and hygienic environment

Some respiratory infections, like influenza, can be avoided with the help of a vaccine. It is advisable to check with the local healthcare authorities to find if the vaccination for the prevention of influenza is available at the evacuation center.

Infection control measures for the prevention of the spread of lung infections

General measures for the evacuation center workers or residents


  • Wash your hands regularly. This is particularly important after touching any surface or object that could be contaminated with the respiratory droplets, and after touching a person who is suffering from the symptoms of respiratory infections.
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are often adequate substitutes when soap and water are not easily available for washing hands.
  • Maintain a clean and hygienic living environment.
  • If the frequently touched surfaces are likely to be contaminated with the infected respiratory droplets and secretions:
  • Disinfect using the standard household disinfectants
  • Wipe up the visible material with tissues, or paper towels and dispose of the used towels in the appropriate manner.
  • Follow everyday preventive measures such as:
  • Do not share the utensils and drinking containers used by the infected person.
  • Do not share any other personal articles like toothbrushes and towels with any other person.
  • The sleeping beds should be separated by at least 3 to 6 feet (or 1 to 2 meters), whenever possible, in order to reduce the risk of spread of the respiratory droplets between the residents and the workers of the evacuation center.


Preventive measures for the people with the symptoms of respiratory infections

Share information with the patients having the symptoms of respiratory infections about the right ways to prevent the spread of the illness by practicing cough etiquette and respiratory hygiene, which includes:

  • Covering the nose and mouth while coughing and sneezing
  • Using tissues to contain the respiratory droplets and secretions
  • Throwing away the used tissues after use and discarding them in an appropriate manner
  • Performing proper hand hygiene such as hand washing with water and soap, or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers after coming in contact with the respiratory secretions or any contaminated object or material

If possible, provide the patient with the materials needed to adhere to the cough etiquette and respiratory hygiene such as:

  • Provide tissues as well as a container for the disposal of the used tissue like a plastic or paper bag
  • Provide a personal dispenser for the alcohol-based hand sanitizers
  • When a sink is available, ensure it has all the supplies for hand washing such as soap, and disposable towels

When possible, post the visual reminders in the areas of the high risk for the spread of the infection such as the evacuation centers instructing the residents and healthcare workers to report the symptoms of the respiratory infections.

Also, visual alerts may be used to encourage or promote the practice of the cough etiquette and respiratory hygiene.

When possible, the people suspected to have an infection should be screened for the respiratory illness. In the case of residents and healthcare workers, the screening should be performed upon the initial admission and registration at the evacuation center.

Evaluate every worker and the resident of the evacuation center for the presence of the common symptoms of the respiratory infections such as:

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Night sweats
  • Weight loss
  • Running nose

Evaluate the person with the symptoms of respiratory infections for the other co-morbidities such as asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), including emphysema.

Refer a person meeting 1 or more of the following criteria for further medical evaluation:

  • Having respiratory symptoms, which are accompanied by wheezing, fever, and shortness of breath
  • Having a chronic cough that persists for longer than a few weeks or months, which is accompanied by either night sweats, fever, or weight loss
  • Having respiratory symptoms along with COPD or asthma

In case the residents do not have any symptoms of respiratory infections upon the initial admission or registration at the evacuation center, they should be asked to report any new symptoms immediately, if they occur.


These guidelines are effective for controlling the spread of pulmonary infections, especially at the evacuation centers. You can attend our respiratory conference to learn more about the right ways to protect against the risk of pulmonary infections. Our respiratory therapy conferences are aimed at creating awareness and educating healthcare professionals about the latest guidelines related to the treatment and prevention of lung diseases to help them provide the best possible treatment to their patients.