24 Jun Preventing the Spread of Infection: When To Avoid Visiting the Hospital
Surgery went very well and the patient has finally returned to his room. He is comfortably tucked in bed waiting for dinner while flicking through the television channels looking for the nightly news. Happily resting, looking forward to a fast recovery without any complications, the patient settles in for the night. Suddenly a chorus of familiar voices is heard coming down the hall. The patient perks up realizing a few friends have come to visit. They are bearing gifts such as balloons, cards and flowers. However, there is one unexpected gift that is not so welcomed.
Going to the hospital usually means we are trying to recover from illness. No one ever expects to get sicker as a result of their stay. Patients often contract infections from well-intentioned visitors. What seems like a meaningless cough or sniffle to a healthy person could be devastating to someone with compromised immunity. When visiting someone in the hospital, it is always better to err on the side of caution rather than take a chance.
Compromised immunity means the body is not able to fend off infections and illness. When we are healthy, fighting off things like the common cold is much easier. There is a higher risk of catching infections after surgery or when other diseases are present. Illness and injury compromise health and create a weakened state. When our immunity is compromised, recovery time for any illness is longer than normal. Recovery could also pose threats having serious long-term effects.
The following is not an all-inclusive list, but it provides a good idea of when to not visit someone in the hospital. Making a phone call, sending a card or gift, or waiting until you feel better is the best gift that can be given. If signs and symptoms of any of the following illnesses and infections are present see your own doctor for medical attention and then stay home:
- Strep Throat
- Chicken Pox
- Open Sores
- Staph Infection
There is no replacement for preventing exposure to disease and infection for the patient. But hand washing is a simple and effective way to prevent the spread of disease. Most people do not wash their hands properly. They think that a quick rub of the hands under running water is enough. There is actually a right way to your wash hands. Centers for Disease Control suggest the following each time you wash your hands:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Preventing the spread of infection among hospital patients is an ongoing effort. Patients on the road to recovery should not ever be derailed by well-meaning friends or family members. Exposure to additional germs makes it harder for anyone to recover. Always wash your hands to prevent the spread of disease. Above all, stay home when you are not feeling well. If you are unsure about being well enough to visit someone in the hospital, ask your doctor for advice.
Contact us at Specialty Hospital of Central Jersey by calling 732.942.3592. We are conveniently located at 600 River Avenue in Lakewood, New Jersey.