Health care-associated infections (HAIs) can occur after many types of medical procedures. This is particularly true if you are having surgery. Many hospital patients have a weakened immune system due to sickness and recovery, making it more difficult to fight off bacteria. Infections are the most common complication of hospital care.
Read more in this guide: Preventing Health Care-associated Infections
Hospitals are required to have programs in place to avoid the spread of HAIs, but patients also play an important role in the prevention and elimination of these unnecessary infections.
Here are some steps you can take to help protect yourself from infections in the hospital:
- Wash your hands carefully after handling any type of soiled material. This is especially important after you have gone to the bathroom.
- Don’t be afraid to ask whether doctors and nurses have washed or disinfected their hands before working with you.
- If you have a dressing on a wound, let your nurse know if it works loose or gets wet.
- If you have any type of catheter or drainage tube, tell your nurse right away if it becomes loose or dislodged.
- Ask your friends and relatives not to visit if they are feeling sick.
Remember, getting an infection means being sicker, a longer hospital stay, and a larger hospital bill.
Infographic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).