Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI) Are More Common Than You May Think

Did you know approximately 1 out of every 20 patients who are admitted into the hospital will pick up a hospital-acquired infection during their stay? You probably know someone who has acquired an infection while staying in the hospital, but might not realize how common it is. A majority of the time, these hospital-acquired infections (HAI) are often preventable.

Hospital acquired infections typically occur to a patient 2-3 days after being admitted into the hospital. HAI often require patients to stay longer in the hospital, which also includes a longer recovery time. With a longer stay and recovery time, the cost of being in a hospital increases.

Who is more vulnerable to acquire hospital infections?

  • Young children (usually newborn babies or sick children)
  • Elderly people
  • People with existing medical conditions (for example, diabetes)
  • People who have diseases that compromise their immune system or those in chemotherapy treatments or being treated with steroids.

Most common types of hospital acquired infections

  • Pneumonia (lung infection)
  • Wound infections
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Bloodstream infection

What are other risk factors associated with an HAI?

  • Long stay at the hospital can increase your risk for contracting a hospital infection.
  • Not properly washing your hands by hospital staff and patients.
  • The length or type of operation or surgical procedure.
  • Medical equipment that isn’t properly used or sterilized can introduce possible infection into a patient.
  • Any wound or surgical incision are inclined to infections.

How to reduce your risk of an HAI?

  • Before going to the hospital, stop smoking, keep a healthy weight, let your doctor know of any existing illnesses and manage your diabetes appropriately.
  • During your stay, make sure to wash hands properly.
  • During your stay, let your nurse know of any unclean or contaminated items in your room.
  • Ask family and friends not to visit you if they are not feeling well.

Some people are more susceptible to hospital infections compared to others. It’s important to bring awareness to hospital acquired infections, since they have become more and more common.

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