Infection Control: WASH YOUR DAMN HANDS! And…

wear gloves too (boldface mine):

First: Eli Perencevich, infectious-disease physician and blogger at Controversies in Hospital-Associated Infection Prevention, has a new paper out in Pediatrics which asks whether hand-hygiene programs should be rethought. If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll remember that getting health care personnel to wash their hands is the basis, and bane, of all hospital-infection prevention: It seems so easy, and yet it’s so consistently missed. In just one example, one attempt in a number of hospitals over one year got compliance up to 50 percent. Meaning, health care workers were washing their hands only half of the times they were supposed to — adding up to a lot of possible infections, including resistant infections, which would not otherwise exist.

Perencevich and his colleagues, including PhD student Jun Yin, looked at this persistent failure — of handwashing, and also of keeping infections from happening in patients — and asked: What would happen if the focus were changed from keeping hands washed to keeping hands clean? To answer it, they examined what happens when hospitals get serious about using gloves, which, as with handwashing, keep disease organisms from being passed to patients. It happens that University of Iowa, where Perencevich works, mandates glove use during the season for RSV, a wintertime respiratory infection that can be very serious in the very young and very old. The team looked at the hospital’s data over 9 years and found that, during those mandatory glove months, the risk of patients contracting any hospital infections went down by 25 percent. (The risks of some infections, such as hospital-acquired pneumonias, went down by more more: 80 percent.)

Seems like a policy that should be adopted year round.

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2 Responses to Infection Control: WASH YOUR DAMN HANDS! And…

  1. crenquis says:

    During the short time that I worked in a Hospital system, I found their contamination control efforts rather quaint.
    I hope that they are also reminding them to change the gloves… Something that I notice in the food service industry is that they wear gloves, but they wear the same pair of gloves for everything.
    They just need to spend some time working with radioactive material… One learns contamination control very quickly when one can measure the contamination very easily. A typical full body contamination monitor can easily see 1e-12 g of Cs-137 anywhere on the body — this is comparable to being able to see 1-1000 bacteria (based on mass, which is based on a quick google search).

  2. Ryan says:

    I’m an EMT. I’m used to bringing patients in to a hospital, checking them in, and only then finding out that they have some antibiotic-resistant infection. Several times a day.

    The triage nurse nearly panics. What have they touched since seeing the patient? Where have they been?

    I just tell them that we wear gloves for everything, and clean the gear every time.

    Of course they’re infected. They came here from earth.

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