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HealthSheets™

INFECTION CONTROL AND PREVENTION

  ISOLATION PRECAUTIONS

IN HEALTHCARE SETTINGS

 

What is Infection Control?

Infection Control is a process to prevent infections among patients, healthcare workers, and visitors.  Preventing infections is important to help patients recover quickly and stay healthy.  These rules work well to prevent infections at home too.

 

How Do Infections Spread?

  •   Infectious organisms (germs) can be found in wounds, respiratory secretions, urine, and blood, and can be carried on hands and clothing.

 Germs are spread by:

  • Direct contact, such as touching an open wound, runny nose, or rubbing eyes with unwashed hands.

  • Indirect contact, such as sharing a drink, eating from the same utensil, biting from the same sandwich.

  • Being carried in droplets through the air, such as when people sneeze or cough.

 

How Can We Prevent the Spread of Infection?

Washing hands well using soap and water and rubbing hands together for at least 15 seconds is the best way to prevent the spread of infections.  Keeping immunizations up to date is also important.  Hospitals also utilize isolation precautions to help prevent infections from spreading.

 

Isolation Precautions

In healthcare settings, it is sometimes necessary to take extra precautions when a patient has a particular type of infection.  These extra precautions include wearing gloves, masks, and gowns depending on how the germ is transmitted.  Gloves, masks, and gowns are called Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).  The purpose of wearing PPE is to protect the health of patients, healthcare workers, and visitors by preventing germs from being spread on hands, clothes, or even nasal passages.  Even though you may not get sick from being exposed to a particular germ, you could carry that germ to someone whose immune system is weaker, causing that person to become infected.  Be extra cautious about moving from an isolation room to any other area, including waiting rooms, other patient rooms, dining room, and when going home to family members that may include children and elderly.

 

**Visitors to an isolation room may need to wear gloves, masks, or gowns.  REPORT TO THE NURSE’S STATION BEFORE ENTERING THE ROOM.

 

It is very important to wash you hands thoroughly when leaving an isolation room so you do not take germs out with you.

 

If you have questions about isolation or personal protective equipment, please see the Nurse or call the Infection Control Nurse at hospital extension 2467.

 

By following proper infection control practices, we can prevent infections from spreading.  Infection control is everyone’s responsibility!