The world would like to think that hospital staff never contracts an illness, and rather than spreading germs, display wellness 24/7. However, that is simply “snot” the case. Healthcare professionals get seasonal cold and flu viruses just like everyone else. The difference is, healthcare professionals come into contact with and care for critically ill patients on a daily basis – some of which contracting a simple cold or flu could mean death – proving even further that the health of hospital workers is crucial to ensuring the health and wellness of patients.
Last year’s flu season resulted in more than 900,000 hospitalizations and 80,000 deaths. That’s 900,000 opportunities for healthcare professionals to contract and spread illness to others. While it is impossible to avoid exposure to germs, there are many safeguards healthcare professionals can take to try to avoid the cold and flu season.
Performing proper hand hygiene by healthcare staff is crucial to maintaining their own health as well as the health of patients. It is critical for staff to follow the World Health Organization’s (WHO) “My Five Moments for Hand Hygiene” which include:
- Cleaning hands before touching a patient
- Cleaning hands before a clean/aseptic procedure
- Cleaning hands after a procedure or exposure to body fluids
- Cleaning hands after touching a patient directly
- Cleaning hands after touching a patient’s surroundings
Another option to take towards maintaining a healthy environment for all is to put up posters and educational materials reminding patients and visitors to take the same steps as the staff to limit the spread of infection. These posters can include information such as reminders to correctly cover your cough to tips on how and when to practice proper hand hygiene.
Click on the more information button below for resources on hand hygiene solutions for your healthcare facility.