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Take these steps to help avoid hospital acquired infections

Infections are more than just a little redness, pus or soreness. They can lead to sepsis and necrosis; even minor infections can end up leading to a patient’s death if left untreated.

To reduce the risk of suffering from an infection at the hospital, these are some steps you can take. First, make sure you ask that the staff and any visitors wash their hands. It’s important to do this to prevent the spread of infection from viruses or bacteria that travel on the skin. The best hand cleaners are alcohol-based cleansers. You can also ask caregivers to put on new gloves in front of you if you didn’t see when they put them on.

Before your doctor uses any tools on you, they should be sanitized or be opened in front of you. For instance, if you’re going to have a blood draw, you should see the packet that the new needle is taken from be opened. If your doctor has to use a stethoscope, ask that he or she wipes it down with alcohol before it’s placed on your skin.

If you’re going into surgery, remember to remind your doctor that you need your pre-operative antibiotic. Most operations use this to prevent infection, but it’s possible for the staff to forget to give it to you. Also request that the surgical site is not shaved unless necessary; if you can, ask that clippers are used instead. Razors cause small nicks in the skin that can become infected.

If your medical team doesn’t take precautions and you fall ill, you can file a claim against them to help you recover financial losses and to compensate you for your pain and suffering.

Source: Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths, “15 Steps for Protecting Patients,” accessed Sep. 08, 2016