Patients who receive care in a hospital or other facility may become infected by additional diseases. These are called healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). HAIs can be very serious and are one of the most common complications in healthcare settings. HAIs can lengthen recovery time, increase costs of healthcare, and could lead to serious harm and even death. Any invasive treatment [such as surgery or intravenous catheters (IVs)] can increase the chances of getting an HAI. However, medical staff, patients, and visitors can all make a difference in HAI prevention:
- Wash your hands often and ask all medical staff to wash or sanitize their hands before treating you.
- Ask what your medical staff are doing to protect you from getting an HAI.
- Ask your medical staff how long treatments like an IV or urinary catheter will last.
- Stay up-to-date on recommended vaccinations.
Antimicrobial resistance (AR) is when the medications we use to treat infections, like antibiotics, are not effective anymore. Instead of the medication killing the germs, the germs defeat the medication and the patient gets sicker. Because of that, if an HAI has antimicrobial resistance, it can be very dangerous. Antimicrobial resistance happens because medications are used incorrectly or in the wrong situations. Here are 2 things you can do to help with the problem:
- Antibiotics can only treat bacteria. They are not helpful against viruses. Tell your doctor you only want to take antibiotics when they will help you.
- Take your medications correctly and finish the entire prescription. Even if you feel better, finish the entire recommended dose.
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