News | November 08, 2007

Experts Offer Six Simple Steps to Stop Spread of Superbugs

November 9, 2007 - Recent surveys from Centers for Disease Control and the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) have raised awareness of the threat of hospital and community acquired infections including Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and the APIC recommends six simple steps to help protect against infections and stop the spread of MRSA in healthcare and community.

In the community environment:

1) Practice proper hand hygiene. In both healthcare and community environments, the best prevention is simply washing your hands for at least 15 seconds and using hand sanitizer containing a minimum of 60 percent alcohol the right way - rub until your hands are dry.

2) Be aware of what you share. Forget what your mother told you about sharing. Towels, razors, equipment, sports gear and heavily trafficked environments (like gyms, classrooms, etc.) are potential bacteria breeding grounds. Keep wounds covered and clean, avoid touching wounds of others, and shower after sports activities.

3) Spare the antibiotics. Superbugs are a man-made problem, thanks in large part to the improper use of antibiotics. Don’t press your doctor to prescribe unnecessary antibiotics.

In healthcare settings:

1) Practice proper hand hygiene. Forget high-tech, when you are in a healthcare setting remember to wash your hands after touching surfaces like bed rails and IV poles.

2) Don’t be shy. Demand proper hand hygiene from healthcare providers. Request they use hand sanitizer before and after treating you. Ask about the hospital’s policy and practices regarding infection prevention and control.

3) Don’t pass it on. Preventing transmission takes a village. Proper hand hygiene is not only for hospital staff and patients, but anyone entering a hospital can unintentionally bring in, or take a bug home. Remember to wash your hands before and after visiting loved ones.

APIC’s mission is to improve health and patient safety by reducing risks of infection and other adverse outcomes. The association's more than 11,000 members have primary responsibility for infection prevention and hospital epidemiology around the globe.

For more information: www.preventinfection.org, www.apic.org

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