FORT LEE, Va. -- During National Infection Prevention Week, which runs through Saturday, Kenner Army Health Clinic reminds patients, family members and health care professionals of the importance of infection prevention.
Seeking medical care can be an emotional and stressful experience for patients and their families, and the possibility of contacting an infection is one of many risks.
There are precautions patients can take to prevent the spread of infection during a visit to a doctor or the hospital.
One of the best defenses is the proper washing of your hands. It is estimated that health care-associated infections cause nearly 90,000 deaths and add billions to the cost of health care in the United States annually.
Hand washing and hand sanitizing with an alcohol-based rub are important barriers to the spread of infections. It only protects if it is done by health care providers before they have contact with patients as well.
It isn’t always easy, but patients have the right to ask their health care providers if they have washed their hands, or ask them to wash their hands in front of them. This action by patients concerned about the spread of infection has been proven to increase health care providers’ frequency of hand washing.
There are several steps you can take to avoid bringing infection home to your family. The following measures can ensure you create and maintain a healthy and infection-free environment:
• Do not place your purses or diaper bags on the kitchen table, on the kitchen counters, or anywhere else food is consumed in your home. Purses, backpacks, and shopping bags land on some pretty germy places – public bathroom floors, shopping carts, and other less-than-desirable resting spots. Be mindful of where you store your bag when you get home.
• Wash or sanitize your hands after you come home from public places. Wash hands before preparing food, eating, while handling uncooked fruit/vegetables and raw meats, and after toilet use.
• Use safe cooking practices. Foodborne illnesses frequently arise from poor food preparation and dining habits.
• Keep pet environments clean and remember to prevent pets from drinking out of the toilet. Keep pets vaccinated and bathed, and promptly clean up accidents. Protect your pet and your family, and keep disease out of your home by preventing fleas, ticks and other pests from getting in.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces on a regular basis. Establish a schedule for daily/weekly cleaning and disinfection activities based on the location and level of contamination.
Remember, that wherever you are, there are always preventive steps you can take to stay safe from infections. To learn more ways to keep you and your family safe from infections, visit consumers.site.apic.org.
Infection Control, Kenner Army Health Clinic