8 Useful Steps How to Prevent Nosocomial Infections
Nosocomial infections are infections acquired by a person due to undergoing treatment at the hospital. Hospitals are a vulnerable environment for the spread of various harmful organisms such as viruses, bacteria and germs. They can spread through people in the hospital, i.e. patients, doctors, nurses and hospital staff.
Some common nosocomial infections are surgical site infections, respiratory pneumonia, urinary tract infections, gastrointestinal infections and skin infections. There are no exceptions to nosocomial infections. They can happen in rich countries, developing countries and poor countries. According to WHO research, about 15% of patients undergoing hospitalization are exposed to nosocomial infections.
Sources of Nosocomial Infection
There are various sources of nosocomial infection, from humans to hospital objects.
- The doctors and their assistants
- Hospital roommates
- People who come to visit
- Non-sterile medical equipment
- Shared toilet / bathroom
Symptoms of Nosocomial Infection
To be classified as a nosocomial infection, the infection should appear in the following conditions.
- Occurs less than 48 hours after admission to the hospital
- Occurs in less than 3 days after returning from the hospital
- Occurs in less than 30 days after undergoing surgery
- Occurs in patients whose reasons for admission are not associated with infection
The most common symptoms of nosocomial infection are as follows.
- Blood pressure decreased
- Restless and stressed
- Swelling and inflammation of postoperative incisions
- Difficult and painful to urinate
- Blood in the urine
- Hard to breathe
- Chest pain
People at Risk for Nosocomial Infection
Anyone who is in hospital is at risk for nosocomial infection. But there are certain people who are most likely to get nosocomial infections, such as :
- Patients treated in ICU
- The elderly or people over the age of 60 years
- Kidney failure patients
- Patients who have experienced coma
- Patients who have experienced shock
- A person who has undergone intensive treatment with antibiotics
- People who have colds
- Patients undergoing recovery
Causes of Nosocomial Infection
Patients who undergo hospitalization usually have a weak immune system. Therefore they are at greater risk for nosocomial infections. About 90 percent of cases of nosocomial infections are caused by bacteria, such as :
- Staphylococcus aureus
Staphylococcus aureus (S aureus) is one type of Gram positive bacteria with round shape. S. aureus is generally transmitted by air. A person affected by S. aureus may infect others while sneezing or coughing. Healthy people can also be infected by direct contact with objects contaminated by S. aureus.
Even so, S. aureus is common in everyday life. Research shows that in about one third of healthy people S. aureus can be found in their skin, pharynx and noses. Anyway, there are several ways how to get rid of sneezing in the morning
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa) is one type of Gram-negative bacteria with rod shape. P. aeruginosa is transmitted by direct contact with contaminated objects or the ingestion of contaminated objects. P. aeruginosa is easy to find in water, soil and moist places. Hospitals certainly have a lot of humid locations, therefore P. aeruginosa is easy to develop there. Breathing machines is an example of objects prone to contamination of P. aeruginosa.
- Escherichia coli (E. coli)
E. coli is one type of Gram-negative bacteria with rod shape and anaerobic ability. E. coli is normally found in human intestines and certain animals. A person may get infected with E. coli if he/she ingests a contaminated object. For example, he/she consumes fruits or vegetables which are irrigated with contaminated water, consumes undercooked meat or accidentally swallows water from contaminated pools. Whereas for the infections of E. coli in hospitals mostly are associated with urethral catheterization.
Enterococci is one type of Gram positive bacteria with coccus shape and anaerobic ability. Enterococci is normally found in the human digestive tract. Enterococci is transmitted by direct contact with contaminated objects. At the hospital, Enterococci is most likely to be transmitted directly person to person.
Health professionals who do not wash their hands after contact with patients may become a medium for Enterococci transmission or have a high risk of contracting Enterococci. The spread of Enterococci can also occur through sharing toiletry items such as soap, towels and washcloths. In daily life, surely you already know the dangers of not washing your hands before eating.
The rest is caused by fungus, such as Candida albicans and Aspergillus, and virus, such as Respiratory Syncytial virus and Influenza viruses. Just in case, it’s good for you to know some natural ways to get rid of fungal infections.
How to Prevent Nosocomial Infections
Prevention of nosocomial infection is primarily the responsibility of the hospital. Nosocomial infections are often caused by non-compliance with the recommended guidelines for sterilization and disinfection by health professionals and hospital staff.
While it is unlikely to completely eliminate nosocomial infections, taking appropriate measures for prevention may reduce the risk of nosocomial infection by up to 70 percent. Some actions you can do are as follows.
- Wash hands before entering and after leaving the patient room
- Use protection when direct or indirect contact with the patient or related physicians. For example mask, gloves, hat, gowns and protective goggles
- Injection of vaccine to overcome the possibility of transmission of viruses and bacteria
- Take supplements of vitamin C or other multivitamins to maintain the immune system. You must read benefits of vitamin B5 for body health.
- Avoid using toilets that have been used by patients who are undergoing intensive care. It is the most obvious and simplest way on how to prevent nosocomial infections
- Stay away from all medical waste such as syringes, cotton, medicinal fluids, blood and so on
- Consume lots of water
- After returning from the hospital, take a shower immediately
Doctors will most likely prescribe antibiotics and advise you to take adequate rest and eat healthy foods. In addition, medical equipment installed in your body, such as catheter, will also be removed. Early detection is important for the treatment of nosocomial infections. With the right treatment, the patient can recover completely.
A strong immune system is vital to prevent contracting the disease. A healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, a healthy diet and good personal hygiene are key for how to prevent nosocomial infections and to keep your body healthy.