Healthcare Workers: How to Reduce Risk of Infection

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The risk of infection is high for healthcare workers. After all, they’re on the front lines, where they deal with sick patients every day. If you’re a healthcare worker and are concerned about your own health and the safety and wellbeing of your patients, here’s how to reduce your risk of illness:

1. Wash Your Hands

You’ve probably been reminded of the importance of hand washing a hundred times, but it really can’t be overstated. Microorganisms from surfaces and sick patients can be transferred to your hands, which can cause you to infect yourself. And if you accidentally spread those microorganisms, you could infect others. The World Health Organization recommends that you practice hand hygiene at these five key moments:

  • Before you come into contact with a patient
  • Before cleaning procedures
  • After exposure to bodily fluids
  • After you come into contact with a patient
  • After touching surfaces patients have come in contact with

Hand hygiene is simple, quick, and effective. You can’t wash your hands enough, particularly in the field of healthcare. To do it properly, wash with soap and water for 20 seconds. You can sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice, or “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” to keep track of the time.

2. Clean Surfaces

Disinfect surfaces as often as you can. Anything that anyone touches will need to be cleaned. This includes doorknobs and handles, chairs and tables, patient beds, tools and instruments, and anything that patients and medical personnel touch. Some viruses can live for hours and even days on various surfaces, so it’s important to frequently disinfect surfaces.

3. Use Protective Gear

Viruses can spread through skin-to-skin contact, the air, and bodily fluids. Goggles, gloves, and face masks can offer a protective barrier between you and infectious viruses. Follow the guidelines given by your place of work.

4. Handle and Dispose of Materials Properly

Make sure that disposable materials are handled and thrown away properly. This includes needles, materials contaminated with bodily fluids, human waste, blades, pipettes, cultures and other biohazardous materials.

5. Follow Health Guidelines

Above all, follow the guidelines and protocols issued by your workplace as well as WHO and the CDC. Monitor yourself and let your supervisor know if you start to show symptoms of an illness. If you are at a higher risk of succumbing to illness than other medical workers, talk with your supervisor about an alternate schedule or work location. If you do show symptoms, you may need to self-quarantine for days or weeks, depending on the seriousness of your illness.

It’s important for you to stay healthy so that you, in turn, can help your patients stay healthy. At Charter College, proper sanitation and sterilization techniques are incorporated into our curriculum so every healthcare student is prepared to maintain health and safety standards in a healthcare setting. Learn more about our Health Care Programs by calling 888-200-9946.