Responding to the novel coronavirus outbreak

Advice for massage therapists

The information and advice provided here is precautionary. It was taken from:

Australian Department of Health website

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention website

The Australian Department of Health is closely monitoring respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus that was first identified in the city of Wuhan in China, the epicentre of the outbreak. As at 6.30am on 30 January, seven cases have been confirmed in Australia: four in NSW, two in Victoria and one in Queensland. Health authorities are also testing any people who show symptoms of the virus.

Internationally, there are approximately 6,074 confirmed cases, and 132 deaths have been reported.

On Wednesday 29 January, the Australian Government updated its advice to Australians about coronavirus, based on the latest medical advice:

  • People who have been in contact with confirmed novel coronavirus cases must be isolated in their home for 14 days after exposure.
  • Returned travellers who have been in Hubei Province of China must be isolated in their home for 14 days after leaving Hubei Province other than for seeking individual medical care.

What is Novel Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. They cause illnesses that can range from the common cold to more severe diseases. Health authorities have not yet established:

  • how this novel coronavirus transmits
  • clinical features of the disease
  • how it spreads
  • the source of infection.

Health authorities have identified new coronavirus cases in China, South Korea, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, the United States, and Australia.

On the good news front, at this stage there are no cases of human-to-human transmission in Australia. There is only a handful of isolated cases of human-to-human transmission outside China (in Germany, Thailand and Japan).

This means that massage therapists need to screen for clients who have visited mainland China recently. However, full precautions should be employed regardless.

Know the signs, stop the spread

Symptoms of novel coronavirus can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Affected people may experience:

  • fever
  • flu like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and headaches
  • difficulty breathing

A person is classified as a suspected case if they meet certain criteria.

How you can help prevent novel coronavirus

Keep employing those basic hygiene habits you’ve been using for years:

  • Wash your hands
  • Cover your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid contact with wild or farm animals.

How you can prevent the spread of infection in your clinic

Please review the Infection Control and Hygiene standard in the AMT Code of Practice.

  • Apply standard precautions and transmission based precautions
  • Instruct clients and any accompanying people to call ahead of an appointment if they have symptoms of any respiratory infection (cough, runny nose, fever, sore throat)
  • Instruct clients to let you know if they have any symptoms of respiratory infection on arrival
  • Provide instruction on hand hygiene
  • Provide instruction on respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette
  • Post visual alerts (signs, posters) at the entrance and in waiting areas providing clients with instructions about hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, and cough etiquette. You can download the posters provided by the Australian Department of Health
  • Provide supplies for respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette, including 60%-95% alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR), tissues, and no touch receptacles for disposal
  • Maintain a log book of all visitors who enter your clinic, including accompanying people.

What about me?

Are you feeling unwell? Visit HealthDirect for more information about symptoms of novel coronavirus. Ring your doctor ahead of time to book your appointment. This will help make your doctor aware of your symptoms and your travel history. People with serious symptoms – a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat – should call 000.

We will keep you updated if new advice is issued by the Department of Health and the Chief Medical Officer.

A final word

AMT is aware that some massage therapists are using social media to promote essential oils for protection against infection from novel coronavirus. AMT considers this to be egregious, predatory, ill-informed and opportunistic, and will take appropriate action against any member found to be using such marketing.

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