The misuse and overuse of antibiotics can produce strains of increasingly resistant germs – like MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) – that can cause serious infections. To protect yourself and others, ask if the antibiotics you are prescribed are necessary, take them as directed and don’t insist on antibiotics if your doctor doesn’t advise them – in or out of the hospital. Learn more about MRSA and antibiotic-resistant infections >>>
Preventing Infections... while you’re in the hospital
Keeping patients safe from infection while they are recovering from an injury or illness is our highest priority. It’s a challenge we embrace daily as our nation battles a rise in antibiotic-resistant infections and superbugs. Here are just a few of the things we are doing – and steps you can take – to prevent those unwanted visitors.
What We Do …
• Wash our hands … a lot: Our staff understands the importance of hand hygiene – it is the single most effective way to prevent hospital infections. We follow all CDC guidelines to safeguard patients during their stay.
• Clean below the surface: We thoroughly sterilize all medical equipment and supplies before they ever reach our patients. And when cleaning rooms, we use advanced black light monitoring systems – similar to the bioluminescent testing technology featured on forensic crime shows – to look for hidden germs and ensure cleanliness.
• Use protective precautions – every patient, every time: It isn’t always obvious when a person is infectious, so we follow standard precautions (use of gloves & other protective gear) with every patient every time contact with blood or other body fluids is possible. Patients whose conditions pose risks to others – or suspected risks – remain in single rooms with isolation precautions, such as theuse of masks, gloves and/or gowns, to prevent spreading germs to others. Although these precautions may seem extreme at times, they follow CDC safety guidelines and are designed for everyone’s well-being.
What You Can Do …
• Wash up or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer every time you use the restroom or handle anything that might be a germ carrier (soiled sheets, a bedpan, used tissues, TV remote, cell phones).
• Be bold – Don’t be afraid to ask your doctors, hospital staff and visitors to wash their hands when they enter your room.
• Watch your wound. Be sure to keep the dressing around a wound dry and clean. Let a nurse know immediately if it gets wet or begins to loosen.
• Care for that IV catheter. Keep the catheter site clean and dry. If any redness appears, the dressing comes loose or any tubing connections become dislodged, tell your nurse.
• Avoid a urinary catheter – a common cause of infection. If you must have one, ask your doctor or nurse what you can do to help speed its removal.
• Be part of the team. Be sure everyone involved in your care knows of any potential medical conditions, such as diabetes, that may affect your healing.
• Be sure well-wishers are well. Tell family or friends who are sick to send you a get-well card instead of dropping by for a visit.
• Surgical site. Before surgery, ask what you can do to help prevent surgical site infections (i.e.– a week before surgery, stop smoking, bathe frequently with antimicrobial soap and don’t shave near where your surgical incision will be).
Be a Good Visitor
Staying in touch with family and friends is an important part of a patient’s recovery and overall well-being. By following these simple steps, visitors also can help prevent the spread of infections.
Sanitize hands before and after visiting
The hand sanitizers in patient rooms are for everyone – wash your hands when entering and leaving the room of the person you are visiting to avoid bringing in and carrying out germs. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your sleeve, and do not sit on patient beds or handle their equipment. Clean your hands after sneezing, coughing, touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, after using the restroom and before and after eating and drinking.
Stay home if you are sick
Do not visit the hospital if you are sick or have had any ill symptoms within the last three days including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever (or feeling feverish), uncontrolled cough or rash.
Check first before you bring food, flowers or children
While flowers, young visitors and home-baked goodies spread cheer, they may not be allowed, so check with the nurse first. If you bring youngsters, don’t let them play on the floor or bed and have them wash their hands as they enter and leave the room.
If the person you are visiting is on “Isolation Precautions,” talk to the nurse before entering the room to find out what steps you will have to take, such as wearing a mask or other protective clothing.
Infection Prevention Continues at Home
We care about preventing infections – not only while you’re in the hospital, but when you go home, too. Here are some tips to help you on your road to recovery. Please share with family and friends so they can help stop the spread of germs, too.
• Wash hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand cleaners.
• Keep open sores covered with a bandage.
• Avoid close contact with people who are coughing or otherwise appear ill.
• Cough or sneeze into a tissue or into your upper sleeve, instead of your hands. Always discard used tissue and then wash your hands.
Can you do a pop out window with this video:
For a fun video that demonstrates proper cough etiquette, visit coughsafe.com
• Stay home from work and keep children home from school/daycare, and avoid other public places if you have signs of flu-like illness (sore throat, cough, fever of 100 degrees or higher).
• Disinfect commonly touched surfaces in your home – countertops, door handles, sinks, phones, TV remotes and baby changing tables. Use a disinfectant wipe or a clean dry cloth or paper towel (not a sponge or used dishcloth) with a disinfectant spray.
• Avoid sharing personal items, such as drinking glasses, utensils, razors, toothbrushes, face cloths and bath towels.
For more information, please call Sarasota Memorial’s Infection Prevention & Control Department: (941) 917-1745