Critical Care

Tips for Infection Prevention

With the winter in full swing, illnesses are very common. No matter how hard we try to prepare ourselves, the flu always finds a way of catching us off guard. While these illnesses cannot be wholly prevented, there are many ways to reduce the possibility of spreading them. Simple things, such as washing your hands, can go a long way toward minimizing the risk of infection.

How can you prevent infections?

· Proper hygiene is critical.

· Take prescribed medicines exactly as instructed.

· Keep current on immunizations.

· Surfaces and locations which experience frequent contact must be kept sanitary (doorknobs, bathrooms, kitchens).

Stick to Rules of Simple Hygiene

Hygiene is the best way to prevent infectious diseases. Washing your hands before and after each meal is one of the most essential things you can do to stay sanitary and reduce the possibility of spreading bacteria. It is also important that you wash up before and after using the restroom.

Aside from keeping your body clean, you should also wash your clothes on a regular basis. Dirty laundry (linens included) are notorious for carrying bacteria that can be easily transmitted to others. This is why medical facilities hire healthcare linen service companies to wash their sheets and towels.

Do Not Miss a Pill or Shot

If you are currently ill and on medication, remember to take it exactly as your doctor has prescribed. Many people assume that just because they feel better, that they do not need to keep taking their medicine. This is a false assumption, however, and one that often leads to the spreading of infection. Although you may feel fine, the illness is likely still active. To help your immune system get rid of the disease, taking the prescribed doses is required. It is also important to keep up with your immunizations. This is especially true for children, who are more vulnerable to infections than adults.

Sanitize Highly Trafficked Areas

Making sure surfaces, such as doorknobs, bathroom sinks and kitchen countertops, are properly cleaned is critical for killing any bacteria that may be present, as well as for preventing infections from spreading to others. This is why public restrooms use disposable paper towels and hand dryers. Drying your hands with a cloth towel is not recommended, as they can harbor bacteria, plus you have to touch the container to access one.

Staying clean and healthy is the easiest and most effective way to prevent infections. It does not take long for a minor illness to become serious. If you or someone you know is visiting a hospital (especially as a patient), make sure the facility hires a medical linen service. You do not want to be sick in a place that is not sanitary.

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