Patients & Visitors

Avoiding Infections

When you are here, we want to minimize the possibility of infections.

  • Clean your hands with soap and warm water. Rub your hands really well for at least 15 seconds. Rub all parts of your hands and nails. If your hands do not look dirty, you can clean them with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Clean them before touching or eating food, after you use the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing or touching any wounds.
  • Sneeze or cough into your sleeve to prevent the spread of infection to others. When you sneeze or cough, the germs can travel three feet or more. 
  • Get shots to avoid disease and fight the spread of infections. Check with your doctor about shots you may need. 
  • Notify your doctor or nurse immediately if you begin to have signs of infection including: fever, pain, redness or foul-smelling drainage from a wound, surgical incision or IV site. Also if you have pain or burning when you urinate or your urine has a foul odor (especially if you have a urinary catheter or the catheter has recently been removed) contact your nurse immediately. 
  • Drug Resistant Germs - Some infections are caused by germs that are extremely difficult to treat. These germs are called Multi-Drug Resistant Organisms, or MDROs. If you have one of these germs, your doctor will let you know and the hospital staff will provide you with more specific information. If you know that you have an MDRO when you are admitted, notify the hospital staff to make sure you get the appropriate treatment. 
  • Isolation – If you are being admitted to the hospital due to an infection, you may be treated with some type of isolation precautions, depending on the germ causing your infection and where the infection is located. Isolation helps protect the staff, your doctors and visitors from getting the infection that you have or helps prevent the staff from giving the infection to other patients. If you have any questions about why you are “on isolation,” ask your doctor. Isolation may include but might not be limited to:
    • Contact Isolation – means that no staff member or doctor should enter your room to provide care without wearing gloves and in some instances a gown and mask as well (depending on where in your body the infection is located). 
    • Droplet Isolation – means that no staff member or doctor should enter your room to provide care without wearing a mask and in some instances a gown and gloves as well. 
    • Airborne Isolation – means that no staff member or doctor should enter your room without wearing a special mask. It also means that you will be admitted to a special type of isolation room and if you must leave your room for any reason, you will be required to wear a mask yourself. 
  • DEVICES - IVs, dialysis catheters and urinary catheters all can be sources of infection. To avoid infection of these device sites: 
    • Avoid handling the device yourself.
    • Assure healthcare providers clean their hands before handling these devices. 
    • Assure healthcare providers disinfect the IV access port before giving any medications or drawing blood from your IV. 
    • Monitor how long the device has been in place and ask your doctor if the IV or urinary catheter can be removed when it is no longer needed. 
    • If the IV or port site becomes red, swollen, warm or painful – notify your nurse immediately