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barn Covid policy & cold/flu season

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    barn Covid policy & cold/flu season

    With winter just around the corner, I am re-writing our barn covid policy. I have to take into account that people are also likely to get colds and flus...and to be honest, i don't want them at the barn either as work places won't want anyone with any type of virus at work. Has anyone come up with a new winter covid policy to address cold/flu season?
    Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

    #2
    What does your current policy say? Why not just say that no one with any fever, cough, or (whatever you want to include) is welcome at the barn? Period. If you are sick, stay home.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by lorilu View Post
      What does your current policy say? Why not just say that no one with any fever, cough, or (whatever you want to include) is welcome at the barn? Period. If you are sick, stay home.
      That's what I'd do.

      1. No one wants a cold or flu to spread either
      2. You could totally have a cold or flu *and* covid
      3. Whatever you have, if you have a fever you're probably infectious with something and if you're coughing and sneezing you're probably spreading whatever it is.
      If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

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        #4
        I tend to focus on the fever and/or other symptoms of contagious disease, or have any reason to believe you are ill. The reason is that I have allergies and so does my trainer. we both cough and sneeze all year but feel fine. We spent a couple of months apologizing and saying "it's just allergies!" but at this point we are over explaining it constantly.

        Comment


          #5
          If people are practicing good hand washing and social distancing shouldn't they be less likely to get a cold and/or influenza? My recommendation is one broad descriptor that covers a variety of illnesses, without naming each one. Eventually there may be a COVID-20 or COVID-22 and then you won't have to keep updating... (truly I hope not!).

          Comment

            Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by fordtraktor View Post
            I tend to focus on the fever and/or other symptoms of contagious disease, or have any reason to believe you are ill. The reason is that I have allergies and so does my trainer. we both cough and sneeze all year but feel fine. We spent a couple of months apologizing and saying "it's just allergies!" but at this point we are over explaining it constantly.
            The problem is that your sneeze will spread a virus, so I don't want to be around a sneezer either. You could have a virus and not show symptoms yet and be aerosolizing it.
            Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

            Comment

              Original Poster

              #7
              Lizrd I thought that too, but apparently one of my clients already came down with a cold (fortunately she just sold her horse so wasn't coming out), assumingly from her kindergartener who just started school. I was also grocery shopping last week and someone was shopping while coughing and blowing her nose.
              Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

              Comment

                Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by lorilu View Post
                What does your current policy say? Why not just say that no one with any fever, cough, or (whatever you want to include) is welcome at the barn? Period. If you are sick, stay home.
                Current policy is limiting the number in the barn to 3 people, but it is easy in summer as people can just groom outside if the barn is crowded. We don't typically see allergies/colds/flu here in the summer. I was under the (false) Impression that people would be unlikely to get other viruses, but I guess that was naïve of me. I was wondering if people had modified their rules/policies for fall.
                Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

                Comment


                  #9
                  Where I work, they are requiring everyone who enters to affirmatively state they have not had any contact with covid positive people or been to a high transmission area. and we are also required to keep distances and wear masks.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    With the current situation, I would be requiring people with a fever or any respiratory illness to stay home until they are no longer displaying symptoms or have been cleared by a doctor/tested negative for covid. Even if someone "only" has the flu or a cold they really shouldn't be out hanging around the barn and spreading it to others. They should also be staying home if they have been in any circumstance that requires or recommends quarantine (either were in contact with a positive case or they visited any state where quarantine is recommended or required upon returning home). All of these policies seem to be standard for most workplaces and would be good for elsewhere too.

                    If people are actually following mask, distancing, and hand sanitizing recommendations, they should in fact be less likely to catch your more run-of-the-mill illnesses too. But I see an awful lot of people relaxing their protocol or actively and purposely ignoring it.
                    Flickr

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by CHT View Post

                      The problem is that your sneeze will spread a virus, so I don't want to be around a sneezer either. You could have a virus and not show symptoms yet and be aerosolizing it.
                      Wow!
                      So those of us with allergies and constant post nasal drip should never leave our homes?

                      I did not read where the people with allergies who sneezed were not doing it appropriately (vampire thing).


                      I sometimes cough and I know I am not sick (just tested negative) because of my post nasal drip. I am not a clod, I cough into my elbow. Heck, even when I have my mask on.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I would just tell people who have a fever, cough, or sore throat to stay home. Sneezing on its own isn't really a symptom of COVID-19, or influenza. It is a symptom of the common cold, but is almost always accompanied by other symptoms.
                        Requiring masks in the barn and providing stations with hand sanitizer (we have them taped to all the main door and gates) will go a long way to limiting the spread at your facility.

                        You could recommend that your boarders get the flu shot this year. You could also remind boarders that they should get tested if they are experiencing symptoms or have been in close contact with someone else who has been displaying symptoms.

                        If there is any push back I would remind everyone that you're trying to protect the staff that is caring for their horses.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          All the Covid 19 rules I see tell you to stay home if you are experiencing any fever and/or sore throat, respiratory symptoms, etc. Obviously not allergies.

                          The rules tend to be very widespread and apply to colds and flus as well.

                          You are a boarding barn, not self board, correct? Then there is no reason for a client to struggle up off the sofa and trudge through the snow with a raging fever.

                          Just expand the rules to all respiratory ailments. And enforce masks on the ground in the barn.

                          Masks are particularly effective at stopping infected people from passing on the virus especially when they are asymptomatic. Masks are more effective than constant handwashing plus they stop people from putting their fingers on their faces. "Fomite" or surface transmission has turned out to be negligible compared to air borne transmission.

                          Comment

                            Original Poster

                            #14
                            Scribbler We haven't even suggested masks in the barn. That is an idea if the barn is busy (which for us, is more than two people) We are not self board, and people 100% know I will look after their horse if they can't make it.

                            The only surfaces I was worried about are the tools I use to clean stalls. I apparently can't not touch my face while cleaning stalls...so I have put tools in a separate location for me, and me alone to use.

                            I wasn't worried about push back, I just want to have a comprehensive set of rules that help everyone feel comfortable....although I am surprised by the people who don't see why their sneezing due to allergies could be an issue, so I suppose I might have push back there I didn't foresee. Not sure how to accommodate the sneezers. Sneezing isn't a symptom of COVID, but it is a great way to aerosolize ANY virus that you might not know you have.
                            Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by CHT View Post
                              I wasn't worried about push back, I just want to have a comprehensive set of rules that help everyone feel comfortable....although I am surprised by the people who don't see why their sneezing due to allergies could be an issue, so I suppose I might have push back there I didn't foresee. Not sure how to accommodate the sneezers. Sneezing isn't a symptom of COVID, but it is a great way to aerosolize ANY virus that you might not know you have.
                              I was not saying that sneezing is a nothing thing. I am simply saying that people with allergies can not stay home forever because they might sneeze. People just need to sneeze responsibly.

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Originally posted by CHT View Post

                                The only surfaces I was worried about are the tools I use to clean stalls. I apparently can't not touch my face while cleaning stalls...so I have put tools in a separate location for me, and me alone to use.
                                One barn I know of has a container of cleaning/disinfecting wipes easily available (on a stool in the aisle) and if you touch a pitchfork or broom (which clearly people need to do if Dobbin manures in the aisle or such) you are to wipe it down when you are done with it.

                                I would think that along with you having your own tools should have you covered.

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  With the evolving knowledge we have gained on COVID19, transmission via surfaces appears to be a lower risk. It's the aerosol transmission-- respiratory droplets--that carry the greatest risk. So I think I'd focus the policies mostly on masks and physical distancing. Good hand hygiene of course matters too. But even if you go crazy with rules on cleaning surfaces but ignore the masks and spacing, you may not have an effective overall policy.

                                  And it's not just coughing or sneezing that spreads it. With every exhale, even just ordinary breathing, we're expelling a cloud these droplets. Picture your breath on a cold winter day-- it condenses into a visible cloud because it's full of these droplets. And if you had COVID, that same cloud would be full of virus particles. So "stay home if coughing or sneezing" alone won't cut it as a policy. Even if no symptoms, you have to keep spaced 6ft apart and wear masks if you can't do that.

                                  I sympathize with those who have allergy-related cough / sneezing, I really do. I have to travel by plane for my job and I have to say it's so nerve-wracking when you hear someone on the plane coughing. I totally get your irritation about having to "explain yourself" but let me just say that if I were next to you on the plane, I'd be super grateful if you told me "pls don't worry, it's just allergies." I know you shouldn't need to.

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    CHT, I totally understand why you might be concerned about someone sneezing or with an allergy cough, but TBH despite taking daily allergy meds, it is just part of life for many people with allergies, including myself and my trainer. If I had any other symptoms I would close the barn (I can't just "stay away" as it's my barn and the horses need to be fed!), but after having allergies for 35 years, I'm pretty used to being able to tell if it's "just allergies" or if I am actually sick. If you are worried about asymptomatic transmission, social distance and wear a mask.

                                    Heck, I sneeze if I move from shade into sunlight. It's a real thing!

                                    Comment

                                      Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Apparently sneezers are supposed to cover their mouth/nose with a tissue when they sneeze, and immediately throw it away and wash their hands. not sneeze into their elbow. So that and suggesting people with allergies tack up their stall (if they have one) will be my policy.

                                      fordtraktor unfortunately a mask and social distancing won't protect me from germs aerosolized by a sneeze, so I need a better option. Which I now have.
                                      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        I don't know how fancy your barn is, but providing a couple pairs of outdoor cross ties or hitching posts would be nice if you can swing it.

                                        For me, I feel safer at the barn because I was already doing some things pre-COVID, like not touching my face at the barn (because I know what's on my hands there) and coming home and sanitizing myself immediately (because my boyfriend is allergic).

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