Avoiding Infections in the Hospital
Hospital infections can be very serious, especially if you're already weak from whatever illness or problem put you in the hospital in the first place. An infection can add weeks to your hospital stay. So it's important to learn the steps you need to take to keep yourself as healthy as possible during your hospital stay.
- Wash your hands.
This is one of the most important things you can do to prevent infection while you're in the hospital.
- Make sure others wash their hands.
Health care workers already know they must do this, but sometimes they get in a hurry and forget. If you don't see them wash their hands in your room, remind them to do it. Visitors need to follow the same rules.
- Don't touch any wounds or sores.
- Tell your nurse right away if any bandages come loose or get wet.
- Tell your nurse right away if any part of your body seems to be getting red or swollen.
- Follow instructions.
If you're given breathing exercises to do in your room—like deep breathing or using a spirometer—be sure to do them as you're told. This helps prevent lung infection.
- Keep a box of disinfectant wipes on your bedside table.
Regularly wipe your bed rails, the TV remote control, the phone, your call button, doorknobs, tabletops, and other surfaces.
- Limit visitors.
The more visitors you have, the more germs will be brought into your room. Depending on the reason you're in the hospital, you may want to ask most friends to show their concern by calling or emailing you instead of visiting you.