How to prevent hospital acquired infections?

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Hospital infections (Hospital – acquired infections or noso­comial infections): These are infections developing in hospitalized patients which were not present at the time of their admission. These infections produce their symptoms either during hospital stay or after discharge. These infections may occur during diagnostic or treatment procedures.

Factors predisposing for hospital infections:

1. Impaired defense mechanism of the patient due to diseases.

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2. Contaminated hospital environment.

3. Asepsis in hospital procedures.

4. Resistance of hospital infections to drugs and antibiotics.

5. Increased risk of infection from other patients

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Types of hospital infections:

1. Wound infections like those of post-operative wound infections and infections caused by injections.

2. Urinary tract infections which may occur due to catheterization.

3. Respiratory infections which occur due to aspiration, pulmonary ventilation or instrumentation.

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4. Bacteremia and septicemia which are -caused by infected intravenous cannula.

Prevention and control

1. Diagnosis by routine bacteriological methods like smear, culture and sensitivity testing.

2. When an outbreak occurs, the source is identified and eliminated. The sources may be hospital staff, water, air or food.

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3. Sterilisation techniques must be tested. A defective autoclave or sterilizer must be repaired or replaced.

4. Infection control teams may be established in hospitals. These teams should consist of microbiologists, doctors, nurses and hospital administrators. This team should investigate outbreaks. Also it should monitor admission, treatments, sterilization, disinfection etc.

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