Infection risk: The surprising places in hospitals loaded with unwanted germs
(NaturalHealth365) When you’re admitted to the hospital, the hope is that by discharge you’re better off than when you arrived. Unfortunately, your mere presence in a healthcare facility increases your risk of exposure to harmful pathogens and infection.
As you may know: All healthcare facilities have clearly defined infection control policies with the goal of promoting disease ‘prevention.’ But, their effectiveness isn’t always so clear – especially when you consider the surprising places where germs are found.
Infection risk revealed: Nearly 90% of privacy curtains in hospital rooms are loaded with MRSA, study says
In the September 2018 issue of American Journal of Infection Control, Canadian researchers running a longitudinal pilot study published a shocking finding.
They tested the cleanliness of privacy curtains hanging in patient rooms on a burn unit in a hospital in Winnipeg. These curtains were freshly laundered at the start of the study.
But, after just 14 days, 87.5% of the curtains tested positive for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a potentially deadly bacteria. Conversely, two control privacy curtains hung in areas without direct patient or caregiver contact stayed clean for an entire three weeks.
On top of that, the lead author of this study published similar findings – back in a 2017 study.
The main issue here is cross-contamination: NONE of the privacy curtains were hung in rooms occupied by patients who already had MRSA, and the samples from the curtains were taken where people frequently touched them – suggesting that even if prevention policies such as hand-washing were strictly being enforced and followed, the spread of infection was still alive and well in this healthcare facility.
This is clearly concerning, especially when you consider how dangerous MRSA is. According to the National Health Service of the UK, MRSA can survive for weeks on soft and hard surfaces.
The question is: when was the last time your loved one’s privacy curtain was laundered?
Beware: Many other areas in healthcare facilities are hot spots for harmful pathogens
Drug-resistant bacteria are an “increasingly serious threat to global public health” according the World Health Organization. And in addition to privacy curtains, research shows that these dangerous pathogens can also be found on surfaces like remote controls, elevator buttons, and even the floors.
To complicate matters, research shows that disinfectant use is linked with an increased risk of lung disease, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States and is estimated to affect at least 11 million people, according to the American Lung Association.
Of course, most healthcare facilities aren’t likely to go “all natural” when it comes to infection control protocols. But to protect your family, opt to make your own natural disinfecting solutions at home.
These DIY products, made with ingredients as simple as baking soda, essential oils, and vinegar, are surprisingly effective and can decrease your family’s exposure to harmful germs, mold, and toxins.
As for visiting loved ones in a hospital, practice strict hand hygiene when touching your surroundings, especially privacy curtains and other items which aren’t as frequently washed. Plus, maintain a strong immune system with a steady diet of healthy food and good quality supplements like, vitamin C and D.
Sources for this article include:
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