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Beware of infections caught from your hospital

With patient influx going up in most Indian hospitals and with the fact that medical tourism is picking up at a jetspeed adding to the influx, hospital-acquired infections are commonplace.

Add to this, we’re facing a strange problem of antibiotic resistance today. The use of antibiotics has gone up among Indian population and this has resulted in various species of viruses and harmful bacteria becoming drug-resistant. This is also because of unprescribed self-medication and improper use of antibiotics. Such habits make it tough for doctors to tackle HAI. An infection, once acquired, may not be easy to tackle due to drug-resistant microbes.

HAIs can manifest themselves in various forms. Most commonly hospital-acquired viruses and microbes cause urinary tract infections, surgical site infections, gastroenteritis, meningitis, and pneumonia. The symptoms of HAI usually include fever, diarrhea, bed sores, burning while urinating, nausea, and vomiting. Typically, bacteria, fungus, and viruses can cause HAIs. It is seen that bacteria alone can cause around 90 percent of HAI cases. Patients with weak immune systems are more likely to get HAIs.

ICUs are become a breeding ground for HAIs and proper care is not taken because doctors treat various viral and bacterial diseases there. Unclean hands and medical instruments such as catheters, respiratory machines, and other hospital tools increase chances and instances of HAIs.

Nurses play a major role in avoiding HAIs. Some simple steps go a long way to prevent infections:

  • Hand washing with alcoholic hand sprays and soaps.
  • Cleaning the stethoscope with an alcohol swab every two hours.
  • Wearing gloves.
  • Disinfecting the skin before inserting a needle.
  • Avoiding proton-pump inhibitors that increase gastric PH levels.
  • Avoiding unnecessary exposure to antibiotics.
  • Avoiding long durations of antibiotics.
  • Early detection of dysphagia which is often an HAI.

Basically, HAIs are a threat that the healthcare ecosystem worldwide should be aware of and stay updated on the importance of infection prevention and control in hospitals and the best practices in avoiding hospital acquired infections among patients and healthcare workers.

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