Hospital – Acquired Infections

In 2014 when I was 6 months pregnant with my first son, I was admitted into the hospital as a result of food poisoning. I spent a night at the hospital before I was discharged. About 48 hours after I was discharged, I developed catarrh and a sore throat. My husband who was with me at the hospital complained of the same thing. That brought me to my conclusion that we had contacted the infections at the hospital and my reason for this topic.
Nosocomial infections, also known as hospital – acquired infections are those contacted in a hospital by a patient who has been admitted for a reason other than the infection (Ducel G. et al). They have also been defined by Benenson A.S in the 16th edition of Control of communicable diseases manual as infection occurring in a patient in a hospital or other health care facility in whom the infection was not present or incubating at the time of admission. They are absent as at the time of admission into the hospital. It’s also important to note that admitted patients are not the only ones at the risk of hospital – acquired infections. Everybody within the hospital environment is at risk; cleaners, doctors, nurses, visitors etc. In the case of hospital workers, hospital – acquired infections are mostly referred to as occupational infections( i.e. infections acquired as a result of their occupation as health workers/service providers).
Research has it that nosocomial infections are one of the major causes of death and increased morbidity among hospitalized patients. They are a threat to public health as our healthcare facilities are crowded; there is an increase in poor and impaired immunity due to age and illnesses; discovery of new microorganisms and an increasing bacterial resistance to antibiotics. The following are some of the different sites where nosocomial infections occur;
• Surgical wounds
• Urinary tract infection
• Lower respiratory tract infections
• Skin infections
• Blood infections
• Gastrointestinal tract infections

Broken skin and a suppressed immune system easily predisposes one to these infections. High level of personal hygiene would go a long way to prevent these infections. Once you are within the hospital environment either as a patient or a visitor, ensure you avoid direct contact with body fluids of others; take extra precautions when handling sharp objects and wash your hands properly when you have to. If not necessary, please avoid taking young kids to health care facilities because they will want to play and touch surfaces. I always took extra caution whenever we had to get shots at hospitals to ensure that the boys had limited contacts with hospital facilities.

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