Commonly called nosocomial or hospital based infections are on the rise in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that in U.S. hospitals alone 1.7 million patients get infections while hospitalized resulting in 99,000 deaths each year.
Up until recently, it was thought there was little that could be done to win this kind of case. Now, medical science has established that some of these infections are preventable. Take for example catheter induced bloodstream infections which can be eliminated by taking five simple precautions.
The CDC publishes many standards of care for preventing infections. Standard precautions such as hand hygiene, use of gloves, gown, mask, and eye protection or face shield are simple lifesaving measures that can be taken, but are often not used.
The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a study form a group of 108 intensive care units where the incidence of catheter related bloodstream infection was reduced to zero. The safeguards were; hand-washing, using full-barrier precautions during insertion of central venous catheters, cleaning skin with chlorhexidine, avoiding the femoral site if possible, and removing unnecessary catheters.