In an emergency, knowing how to save a life or help protect someone from serious injury or bodily harm is a priceless skill. Learn the basic first aid techniques to prevent healthcare-related infections or nosocomial infections from spreading.
When a person can seek treatment from a doctor in a hospital, they are cared for under sterile conditions. However, many environments are not ideal for practicing first aid in an emergency situation. If a victim’s wound or injury area becomes infected, it can significantly increase the severity of their injury.
What are Healthcare-Related Infections?
Healthcare-associated infections are infections acquired in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, diagnostic laboratories, and stay in an intensive care unit or other long-term care facilities. The most frequent type of hospital-related infection in the United States is catheter-associated urinary tract infection, surgical site infection, central line-associated bloodstream infection, ventilator-associated pneumonia, and clostridium difficile infections. CDC works to monitor and prevent these infections because they are an important threat to patient safety.
How are healthcare-related infections spread?
Healthcare-related infections are spread to the susceptible patient in the clinical setting through various ways, such as bed linens, air droplets, and other contaminated equipment. Health care providers can also spread of infection, in addition to contaminated equipment. The infection can also originate from the outside environment, another infected patient, or staff.
In some cases, the microorganism originates from the patient’s skin microbiota, becoming opportunistic after surgery or other procedures compromising the protective skin barrier. Though the patient may have contracted the infection from their skin, it is still considered nosocomial since it develops in the health care setting.
Who are at risk of healthcare-related infection?
All people admitted to the hospital are at risk of contracting Hospital Acquired Infections. You have an increased risk if you are sick or have had surgery. Some people are more vulnerable than others, including:
- premature babies
- very sick children
- elderly people
- frail people
- people with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes
- people with low immunity
Risk factors for acquiring a Healthcare related Infection
Other risk factors may increase your risk of acquiring Healthcare-Associated Infections. These include:
- Increased length of stay
- Surgical procedures
- Inadequate hand hygiene practices
- Invasive procedures
- Wounds, incisions, burns, and ulcers
How to Prevent Healthcare Related Infections?
Did you know that millions of people suffer from healthcare-related infections every year? Here are some tips on how you can prevent infections from spreading.
Of the millions of healthcare-associated infections suffered each year, many are preventable with the simple act of hand washing. Hand washing kills harmful bacteria and prevents them from spreading to other parts of the body or other people. When a person comes into contact with bacteria, spreading it to others is as simple as touching a contaminated hand of another person or an instrument used to treat them. Washing your hands regularly, and especially when in direct contact with others, kills bacteria and prevents infections from beginning in the first place.
Using Sterile Materials
Treating an injured or sick victim using contaminated materials is easy to spread infections. In an out-of-hospital rescue or first aid emergency, it’s not always possible to have sterile tools or bandages. However, there are many things you can do to use the materials you have at hand in a way that’s as safe as possible. For example, having access to a simple first aid kit gives you access to clean gauze. Preparing with essential items allows you to intervene in an emergency and stop infection and bacteria from spreading.
Seeking Medical Attention Right Away
After receiving sufficient first aid care for injuries such as wounds or burns, many people assume they are safe to return to their normal activities without seeing a doctor. After all, if the bleeding has stopped, doesn’t that mean that everything is okay? But unfortunately, because bacteria are smaller than the eye can see, an infection can grow rapidly before our eyes without us knowing it. So even if a person thinks they are safe after a first aid crisis, it’s still crucial to see a medical doctor examine their injury and provide the proper care to ensure the infection doesn’t spread.
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