What is a Nosocomial Infection?

Posted by Sam John Xavier on Wed, Jan 10, 2018  
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I learnt the meaning of a new word today and wish to pass on the information to readers. Nosocomial infections- this word was quite frankly confusing me for some time, until I understood the actual meaning of it. Put in laymans terms these are infections that can possibly occur in a patient while still under medical supervision in a hospital. They can be by organisms that are resistant to antibiotics. These infections are the ones which occur only after being admitted into a hospital and not any time before admission. I was quite confused why patients contract infections after they are admitted in a healthcare centre and then I found that they are often caused by breaches in infection control procedures, sometimes even because of non-sterile environments or even by employees at the healthcare facility who might be sick. Read on to know how Nosocomial infections occur and the ways by which we can prevent them.

When a patient is admitted into a hospital, it is quite possible that they are exposed to pathogens via different sources like the environment, the health care staff, other patients and visitors too. The pathogens can be transmitted during the treatment, through direct contact with the patients and by staff or by environmental sources like air, water, food, etc.

Pathogens or harmful microorganisms can mainly be found in the hospital environment in water, food and medical equipment, all of which can be a potential source of transmission. Unclean, non-sterile environment paves the way for the pathogens to thrive and spread, thereby causing infections. Pathogens can also thrive in the hazardous waste that is generated by healthcare institutions. Care should be taken to ensure that the waste generated does not cause any harm not only to the patients but also to the environment as well.

Nosocomial infections or hospital acquired infections can be prevented by emphasizing on personal hygiene for everyone in the hospital or other clinical settings, sterilization, regularly disinfecting the patients rooms and insisting on handwashing and wearing gloves. Efficient methodologies of surveillance should be established in hospitals to reduce the risk of infections. It is quite ironical to note that when people go to get treatment, they get infections because of certain issues like this. For this the public is also largely to be blamed. Especially in developing and underdeveloped countries, people who visit patients in hospitals need to have the basic sense not to smoke, spit or throw waste anywhere, especially in hospital settings. If you are reading this blog, make it a point to educate at least one person you know to follow some healthy practices in order to prevent such hospital acquired infections from spreading.


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