Cleansing hands, known as hand hygiene, is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of infections. This includes the common cold, flu and even infections that are hard to treat such as Methicillin resistant staph aureus (MRSA).
To use alcohol hand rub, dispense a walnut-sized amount into your hand and rub until dry before touching anything.
If you are placed on special precautions to prevent transmission of infection, the nurse will explain the reason for precautions, what the staff will be doing and what your responsibilities are.
A central line (central venous catheter including PICC lines), is a catheter (tube) put into a large vein in your arm, neck, chest or groin. You will receive medicines, blood, fluids or nutrition through this intravenous (IV) line. It can also be used to collect blood for medical tests. The end of the catheter stops at or close to your heart in one of your great vessels.
Health care team members will check the skin around your line site every day for signs of infection (redness, warmth, increased drainage or pain). They will also check every day to see if the line is necessary.
Here is what you can do to prevent an infection at the site of your surgery:
Your chance of infection increases the longer your catheter remains in place.
Here is what you can do to prevent a catheter-associated urinary tract infection:
To prevent pneumonia, follow the breathing instructions you get from your health care team. Ask your health care provider about the influenza and pneumonia vaccines (shots).
Antibiotics will only work for bacterial infections such as whooping cough, strep throat and urinary tract infections.
Infections caused by viruses (such as cold, runny nose, sore throat) will not be cured by taking antibiotics. If you have a virus, ask your health care provider for tips on how to relieve symptoms and feel better.
When you are in the hospital with a bacterial infection (such as a urinary tract infection), your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. They may be changed depending on test results.
You are an important part of the health care team.
Allina Health's Patient Education Department, How to Prevent Infections During Your Hospital Stay, ic-ah-14015 (Information adapted from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
Minnesota Department of Health, the
Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, the Surgical Care Improvement Project Partnership, and the
Institute for Healthcare Improvement.)
Health's Patient Education Department experts