Healthcare-associated infections, or HAIs, are infections you mayget in a healthcare facility
while you are receivingtreatment for a different condition.
Bacteria, such asmethacillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, also known as MRSA, Enterococcusspecies,
and Clostridium difficile, or C diff, arefrequently the cause of healthcare-associated infections.
These infections are a major cause of death around theworld.
One of the most common ways these bacteria getpassed from person to person is through lack of proper hand hygiene.
When people don’t clean their hands, they can transfer microbesfrom one patient to another,
or from one part of the bodyto another on the same patient.
There are four commontypes of healthcare-associated infections.
A surgical woundinfection can result when bacteria get into your incision and spread through your tissues,leading to infection.
A urinary tract infection can occurwhen you have a catheter in your bladder,
which is a tubeused to drain your urine.
Bacteria can enter your urinarysystem on the catheter, enabling the bacteria to travel into your bladder where they cangrow.
A bloodstream infection can occur when you have acentral line in your vein,
which is a slender tube used todeliver fluids or medications into a large vein near your heart.
Bacteria can enter the skin around the insertion site or directlyinto your bloodstream, where they can cause infection.
Pneumonia can result when you are on a ventilator, or breathingmachine,
Bacteria can enter your throat while you arebeing placed on the ventilator.
Then, you may inhale thebacteria into your lungs, leading to infection that can cause pneumonia.
Hand hygiene, a simple, low-cost, and effective procedure, is thesingle most important method of preventing healthcare-associated infections.
All people in healthcare facilities, including patients,visitors, and medical personnel, can help prevent these infections by cleaning their handsfrequently.
Hand hygiene can be performed with soap andrunning water for 40 to 60 seconds,
or by thoroughlyrubbing on an alcohol-based hand sanitizer for 20 to 30 seconds.
If you are receiving health care, you are part of the healthcareteam,
and you should make sure that everyone who comes intocontact with you cleans their hands.