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Friday, December 18, 2009

How to stop nosocomial diseases?

Over the years there have been various efforts to reduce the risk of nosocomial infections, or infections that occur during a hospital admission.  We pick our noses, blow our noses, sneeze snot, spit when we talk,  reach our hands in our pockets and touch our dirty stethoscopes and beepers.  Plus there are many patients and visitors who carry a plethora of germs to share.  

I'm sure you've heard all this before. But, just for the sake of it, here are some common methods of preventing the spread of germs.
  • Use hand sanitizer often
  • Wash hands often
  • Wear gloves often, and then wash hands too
  • Gown, glove and wear a mask to prevent droplets from getting on you if patient is suspected of having the flu or MRSA. These bugs are not airborne, so you don't need an airtight mask (I say this despite the CDC recommendations, but they have to err on the side of caution). Actually, you really only have to wear a mask just in case the patient coughs or sneezes in order to prevent you from inhaling their droplets. 
  • Wear a mask if a patient is coughing (common sense). Again, this prevents you from inhaling droplets
  • Wear a mask during all breathing treatments (nebs produce droplets. You are basically spreading germs). Make sure than anyone else in the room wears a mask too, especially during treatments. 
  • Wear a gown in a patent's room (droplets may land on you and live up to 45 minutes) 
  • Use hand sanitizer after touching anything in a patients room 
  • Use hand sanitizer before and after touching your stethoscope 
  • Use hand sanitizer before and after touching your beeper 
  • Use hand sanitizer upon entering a room 
  • Use hand sanitizer upon leaving a room 
  • Use cleaning wipes to wash your beeper or pulse oximeter after each use.
  • Use cleaning wipes to clean off equipment, such as EKG machines.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after you are done with your rounds 
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after leaving an isolation room 
  • Wash your hands after every time you take off your gloves. 

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post.

I'm a veterinarian but I've dealt with respiratory disease outbreaks in stables. I am very careful to bring only what I need into the barn and disinfect the stethoscope, cell phone, boots, etc. when I leave. I no longer wear a watch on my wrist (it's clipped to my belt, so I don't have to touch it). I keep hand gel in my car and use it liberally.

One of the most, well, STUPID clients I've ever dealt with exposed an entire barn-ful of horses, resulting in two infected horses and a group of very angry horse owners because they were quarantined for a month. This owner could not grasp the concept of nose-to-nose contact, never mind the importance of disinfecting potential fomites. Inapparent shedding by carriers? Not one of her concerns. She was a nightmare.

She was also a nurse, working in a rehab facility.

Heidi said...

I always wear gloves regardless of the type of isolation or if in general population and I'm constantly changing them. When I leave leave the room I use hand sanitizer and precede to the nearest sink to soap up and wash my hands (because I just don't trust the sanitizer). I also always wear a mask with just about every patient I see.

When I enter an isolation room I have the unit dose and my phone in hand and place to the side. I grab bleach wipes on the way out and wipe off all the things I used while in the room.

It's just common sense. Plus I need to work, so I definitely don't want what they have.

wet wipes said...

Using hand sanitizers is a very important aspect of hand cleaning and general health and hygiene.