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18 July, 2008

How To-58: "How to Prevent Health Care Associated Infections"

How to Prevent Health Care Associated Infections

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

This article is a stub. You can help by expanding and clarifying it. Notice added on 2007-06-23.
Deadly and yet avoidable hospital infections are an unfortunate fact of life within American healthcare facilities today.
Pathogens unfamiliar to your body colonize within hospitals simply because hospitals are a gathering place for those who are sick. According to the CDC, within the U.S., 3 patients per minute are acquiring hospital infections after having been admitted to hospitals for other reasons. (1,700,000 people per year) 99,000+ actually die. While, at first glance, it may seem that handwashing is a small thing, this one action is the biggest thing you can do so that you or a loved one will not needlessly die from an avoidable infection. It is very possible that by being vigilant in this way, you may effectively save your own life.


  1. Tell your assigned caregivers that you expect them to clean their hands in front of you before they touch you. If they are already wearing gloves when they enter your room, it is somewhat likely that the gloves are already contaminated. Tell them you’re concerned about HAIs and politely demand clean care. Alcohol-based hand cleaners like Purell Instant Hand Sanitizers are said to be more effective than simply soap and water cleansing; suggest they use them – usually dispensers are located on a nearby wall. Remember, you’re not being rude to politely demand to be touched with clean hands. Good hand hygiene is literally a matter of life and death and you’re just trying to be a proactive partner in your own safe care.


  • Ask for all healthcare workers including doctors to wash their hands in front of you every single time they come into your room. This part of safe care is your right as a patient. Nowadays, it's practically expected.
  • Ask cheerfully and politely. Usually, a gentle reminder asked in this way is enough.
  • If they say they already did before they came in, insist they do it in front of you.

Sources and Citations

Article provided by wikiHow, a collaborative writing project to build the world's largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Prevent Health Care Associated Infections. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Wikipedia articles on "Infections" and "Routes of Infections (Transmission):

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