THE DANGER IS NOT OVER - Beating Listeriosis

THE DANGER IS NOT OVER - Beating Listeriosis

Four months after the shock of over 200 people dying from Listeriosis in South Africa and the Enterprise Foods Polokwane factory having to be shut down, mountains of recalled processed meat is still being destroyed.

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Hospital Acquired Infections

Hospital Acquired Infections

In with an INGROWN TOENAIL and out with a URINARY TRACT INFECTION!

Hospital Acquired Infections – how can we prevent them?

One of the scariest things that can happen to you while in hospital, is to pick up an infection. We all visit hospitals to seek treatment and get better, not pick up more infection. The sad truth in Hospital Acquired Infections (H.A.I.’s) have become the norm. Yip, you could go into hospital with an in-grown-toenail and come out with a urinary tract infection!

No one goes into the hospital hoping to get even sicker, but it happens all the time. H.A.I.’s may be caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi. There are numerous bugs in hospitals just waiting to pounce, you may have picked one up if you are suddenly aware of the following symptoms you didn’t have before:

  •  burning with urination or difficulty urinating,
  • a cough, shortness of breath,
  •  discharge from a wound,
  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea,
  • Headaches and High temperatures.

These symptoms may be experienced as early 48 hours after hospital admission and up to days 30 after an operation has taken place.

Mild H.A.I’s include urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, and gastroenteritis, however, illnesses such as meningitis and pneumonia and even MRSA strains can become very serious and are very difficult to treat. 

You would think that the people who are at greatest risk would be seriously ill people, patients with a compromised immune system, or patients that stay in the hospital for a long time. The elderly and small children are generally more vulnerable. But the reality is that the healthy patients who go in for standard procedures can very easily pick up seriously horrible bugs. Afterall in hospitals sick people and their germs are plentiful!

Makes you wonder if there is anything that can be done to lessen this risk.  We all believe that the responsibility lies with the nursing staff, and the doctors, but you as the patient and the family and friends of the patient can do a lot to prevent H.A.I’s.

It goes down to basic hygiene, like correctly washing your hands, using medical quality hand sanitisers, pre-saturated disposable wipes, and basic common sense.

  • Insist that the nursing staff wash and sanitise their hands. Nursing staff should be sanitising their hands between every single patient.
  • Ask for a medical wipe before eating meals, and after using a bedpan.
  • Insist that visitors respect any restrictions such as visiting hours, sanitisers at entrances, and hand washing requirements or even face masks.
  • Anyone who has a cold, sniffy nose or just not feeling well should rather stay at home!
  • Sneezing or coughing should be done into the fold of one's arm.

Fortunately, we live in a time were products are made with convenience and ease of use in mind. Simple on-going basic awareness of hygiene is all that it takes to reduce and prevent Hospital Acquired Infections. The responsibility lies with everyone who comes into contact with the patient - including the patient themselves!

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Caring for an Immunodeficient Patient

Caring for an Immunodeficient Patient

Earlier this year when my mother and I went to see my little sister in an isolation ward in a hospital, the sanitizing procedures the nurse made us do before we entered were really a little bit annoying.

I found myself rolling my eyes as I am not known for my patience. However, I now understand that these processes were necessary to prevent my sister from contracting an infection, as at the time her immune system was severely compromised.  

The immune system defends the body from developing potentially harmful diseases and conditions caused by bacterial, parasitic, fungal and viral infections.

People who are at risk and are likely to have a compromised immune system would include, heart disease patients, diabetes sufferers, people on cancer treatments, HIV and TB (Tuberculosis) sufferers, organ transplant patients, and patients who have had any form of surgery. People with chronic illnesses, or an acute illness that seem to last for a long period of time, would also suffer from Immunodeficiency.

Whilst in hospital doctors and nursing staff should maintain the strictest hygiene standards around these patients. However, once these patients can go home to recuperate, the responsibility is then on friends and family to ensure that these hygiene standards are upheld.

Tips to ensure patients in your care do not contract infections.  

Make sure everyone coming into contact with the patient adheres to strict hygiene rules!

1. Always Practice good hand hygiene, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20  seconds, dry with a clean towel.

2. Make sure nails are trimmed and clean. Nails can harbour dirt and germs and can contribute to the spread of infections.

3. Use a good quality, medical sanitiser preferably high in alcohol to sanitise hands and surfaces.

4. Be prepared to explain to the fussy traditional family members the importance of using hand sanitisers. Germs are everywhere and are easily spread, from touching money to touching the door handle or even a cell phone. Germs are found all around us in public places, they may not make us ill but exposing these germs to a person with a compromised immune system would be putting them at risk.

5. Ensure that the environment where the patient is being cared for is always sterile and clean. Household bleach is quick, easy and effective. Using disposable wipes to clean and sanitise surrounding areas will reduce the threat of spreading germs when cleaning with a dirty or improperly cleaned cloth.

6. Try to ensure and teach those around you to sneeze and cough into the upper part of their arm, and not into hands as we were once taught.

 

7. Make sure the hygiene hotspots around your home are regularly wiped down with a clean cloth that contains a disinfectant liquid or a disposable pre-saturated wipe. These hotspots include cell phones, light switches, the TV remote control, fridge handles, toilet handles, taps and door handles.

 

An infection can be a big setback to a patient with immunodeficiency. General common sense and basic good hygiene practices will go a long way to ensuring a quick recovery.

Practice Good Hygiene; Be Healthy; Be Happy!  From Mama Gogga

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