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Ways going to hospital will make you sicker

When you are a patient in a hospital, you would like to think that you are safe there. You would also assume that utilities or medical equipment standing at your waiting room or at your bedside have been disinfected. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case in many hospitals, especially government-owned facilities. From patients sharing beds, using basins because toilets have broken down, to sleeping on cartons or the floor because of lack of beds, the hygienic state of hospitals is wanting. This makes hospitals a breeding ground for harmful micro-organisms. Here are Healthcare-acquired Infections (HAIs) that are serious enough to require hospital revisit or readmission

1. Surgical site infection

Surgical sites are particularly susceptible to infection. Your skin serves as a primary barrier against infection. Just getting a cut when your skin is broken opens the door for germs to enter and cause infection. The effects can be as minor as redness and swelling at the surgical site or as major as sepsis, a body-wide reaction to infection that can lead to organ failure and death.

2. Pneumonia

Pneumonia that starts in the hospital tends to be more serious than other lung infections because people in the hospital have low immune system. Also, the types of germs present in a hospital are often more dangerous and more resistant to treatment than those outside in the community. Pneumonia occurs more often in people who are using a respirator. Hospital-acquired pneumonia can also be spread by healthcare workers, who can pass germs from their hands or clothes from one person to another. This is why handwashing, wearing gowns, and using other safety measures is so important in the hospital. People can be more likely to get pneumonia while in the hospital if they are alcoholic, have had chest surgery or other major surgery, have a weak immune system from cancer treatment, certain medicines, or severe wounds or are older.

3. Skin infections

Staphylococcus aureus is a skin infection that is transmitted mainly through skin-to-skin contact. When patients share a bed, chances of infection are high. The side effects of the disease most often manifest themselves in small, pimple-like growths that ebb and flow over the course of the infection.

4. Influenza

It is the most common and persistent type of viral infection. The disease comes and goes with varying degrees of potency. Typically, those hospitalised by the disease are at the extreme young or old ends of the spectrum, though it’s not entirely unheard of for healthy, young adult sufferers to experience complications. This community-based virus is easy to contract, especially when cases have been cited near the hospital’s location during the height of what is known as ‘flu season.’

5. Tuberculosis

The transmission of tuberculosis in medical and nursing environments is on patient-to-patient basis. Typically, this is because one patient with the disease is simply not isolated from the rest of the hospital’s population. In other cases, it’s because the patient simply was not aware that they suffered from TB at the time of their admission to the facility.

6. Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infection

Central lines may be inserted into patients who need fluids and intravenous medicines on a frequent basis. Unfortunately, if inserted, stored or cleaned improperly, central lines can allow germs to enter your blood system via the same tubes. These infections can be serious, and are often deadly.

7. Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection (CAUTI)

A urinary catheter is a tube that’s threaded through your urethra into your bladder, allowing urine to drain into a bag. That helps measure urine output, and the device is essential for patients who can’t get out of bed or use a bedpan. Introducing an external tube can allow pathogens into the bladder and cause a Urinary Tract Infection.

8. Gastrointestinal Infections

According to the World Health Organisation, gastroenteritis is the most common hospital-acquired infection in children, who are typically affected by rotavirus. Adults who contract gastroenteritis in a hospital are often infected by Clostridium difficile, which is particularly dangerous since the bacterial strain has become resistant to many antibiotics. Maintaining a sterile environment in the hospital remains key in preventing these infections, but hospitals also have to consider the food served to patients, as well as the proper handling of any materials a patient might ingest.

9. Fungal infections

Catheters, surgical sites and examinations from hospital workers who haven’t washed their hands loom as possible ways for fungal infections to occur. Patients with weak immune systems are most at risk.

10. Klebsiella

This bacteria almost always infects patients after a visit to the hospital, as it seems to be particularly at home on medical equipment in patient treatment areas. Infection by this bacteria can result in a number of serious ailments, including an infection of the bloodstream, infection of any open wounds or surgical sites, or the onset of a serious form of pneumonia. Treatment is generally quick and straightforward, although some antimicrobial strains of the bacteria have required added research and more serious forms of treatment in a small minority of today’s patients.

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