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Hospital Infections

Whenever we experience a serious illness, one of the first places we may visit is the hospital or a clinic. Doctors and other medical personnel work hard to help us get well. However, one of the more recent trends in hospitals and clinics is the spread of serious infections. Other medical facilities face the same problem. For example, according to the Center for Disease Control, in the past 10 years there were more than 30 outbreaks of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C in non-hospital settings.1

How can we prevent the spread of these serious infections? Whether you are a visitor, patient or medical personnel, here are a few ideas to help keep infections away.

(1) The best way to avoid these germs is to wash your hands before and after contacting the bed railing, a table, or anything else that hands touch. This helps keep infections from spreading. If there is no way to wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. This will help get rid of germs and bacteria – but not all of them.

(2) Make sure you do not put your hands in your face, eyes, nose or mouth, or eat food without washing your hands. Also, avoid putting your hands on a scratch or open wound.

(3) If you use your cell phone in the hospital, make sure that your hands are clean prior to talking on the phone. When you are finished, cleaning the phone can help reduce the spread of germs. They can spread easily if you pick up a call without washing your hands.

(4) If you blow your nose, use the restroom, or touch surfaces, make sure you wash your hands.

(5) If you are a patient, check with your doctor and other hospital personnel, and make sure their hands are washed before examining a wound or any open area. This can help minimize infections.

The goal is to get well and stay well during your time in medical facilities. By practicing these precautions, you can minimize the risk of infections.

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