Although people enter the hospital for healing, infections that begin at this point are a common problem. As many as one out of every twenty patients hospitalized in the US contracts a healthcare associated infection (HAI), which often leads to longer recovery time and extended hospitalizations.
Some of the most common HAIs are Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections, catheter-related bloodstream and urinary tract infections, surgical site infections, pneumonia and infections with Clostridium difficile. Infections in hospitals are a big issue that requires action from a variety of sources. But patients themselves can play a role in helping prevent the spread of these illnesses and reduce their own chance of contracting an infection while in the hospital.
Know Your Risks
It is important for patients to realize when they are at an increased risk of infection, so that they can be extra careful and on the lookout for signs of trouble. In particular, patients who are in the hospital for surgery, have open wounds or have urinary catheters are at risk of HAIs. Patients who have central line catheters (that help with blood flow) or are on ventilators are also at risk. And any patients in hospitals or nursing homes are at risk for MRSA infection.
Patient Prevention Steps
One crucial step for patients to take is to focus on clean hands. Not only should patients wash their hands often, they should make sure other people wash their hands before touching them. Patients should also know, and watch out for, infection warning signs and symptoms. Patients and their families should be on the lookout for symptoms like fevers, diarrhea, pain, drainage and skin redness, which could point to a possible infection.
Patients should also talk to their doctor about HAIs. Doctors and patients can discuss concerns, prevention strategies and individual care approaches to preventing these infections. It is also important that patients stay up-to-date on their vaccinations, including their yearly flu vaccine. Not only can this help prevent the illness being vaccinated against, it can help avoid complications caused by infections.
On the part of medical facilities, a huge factor in preventing HAIs is a detailed and comprehensive approach to sanitation. GermLogic can help. Our UVC Sanitation and Thermal Heat Treatment services kill bacteria and viruses both in the air and on surfaces. We also offer medical-grade solutions for keeping hands clean and comfortable. To learn more about how we are working to help medical facilities of all types fight HAIs, contact GermLogic today.