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David Mittleman
David Mittleman
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How To Prevent Hospital Acquired Infections

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According to the CDC, approximately 1.7 million people every year receive an infection related to health care treatment.  Of those 1.7 million, approximately 99,000 die from health care related infections.  If you have had surgery, you stand a 22% chance of becoming infected at your surgical site while recovering.  These infections are not limited to the confines of your local hospital, but rather can occur even at your family doctors office.  If you have a young child, make sure to bring your own toys and don’t let them crawl around on the ground.  Waiting rooms are hotbeds of bacteria and potential infant infections.

In addition to making sure your children are protected, you should also take precautions to help prevent infections to yourself. One of the most effective ways to prevent infection is to make sure both you and your health care providers wash hands before providing treatment or touching a wound.  We have already talked about the benefits of hand washing on this blog before, and we continue to believe it is the simplest way to prevent infection.  Other concerns arise from hospitals and doctors re-using syringe needles, another issue we talked about previously.

There are some people out there who need to receive antibiotics prior to any surgical procedure, including dental work. Make sure you do not have surgery if you have not received the antibiotics.  There are many potentially fatal infections that can occur if antibiotics are not given, such as endocarditis.

The best thing to do is speak up and ask questions.  Just because you are in a hospital, it does not mean the people providing health care practice all of the safest treatments, or even wash their hands regularly.  Don’t assume your doctor or nurse always does the right thing when it comes to preventing infection. Take an active role in making sure they do.