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The importance of infection control
Infection control includes the practices used to prevent the spread of infection. Infection is the invasion and growth of disease-causing microorganisms in the body.
The patient should not become sicker or develop a nosocomial infection(an infection that the patient acquires after entering a health care facility)
Microorganism is the general term for any small plant or animal that cannot be seen without the aid of a microscope.
- Types of microorganisms: The three basic types of microorganisms are non pathogens, pathogens, normal flora.
- Pathogens are harmful microorganisms that can cause infection when they enter the body.
- Non pathogens are microorganisms that are bot harmful and so not cause infection.
- Normal flora are microorganisms that live and grow in certain location of the body.
Microorganisms thrive in a warm, moist, dark environment. (oxygen mostly needs)
Infections and how they occur; Contamination
The infection process:infection follows a chain of events that can be broken at any point.
- Agent:a pathogen, a microorganism that can cause disease
- Reservoir:a place where microorganisms can live and grow.
- Portal of entry and exit: naturally body openings.
- Method of transmissions: how the pathogens travel
- Susceptible host: a person who is susceptible likely to catch an infection or disease when exposed.
contamination: contamination refers to items or areas that have been exposed to disease-casusing microorganisms.
Signs and symptoms of infection
An infection maybe located in one part of the body is local infection, or it may affect the whole body is a systemic infection.
- Signs and symptoms of a local infection (systemic infection: also includes signs and symptoms of local infection):
The body's defense against infection
The immune system has special cells called lymphocytes that are produced in the spleen, thymus, and bone marrow to help fight infection. their function is to attack and destroy invading microorganisms. this action is called the immune response.
Preventing the spread of infection
- Medical asepsis: all the techniques used to prevent the spread of infection.
- Disinfection: the process of destroying pathogens on objects and surfaces
- Sterilization:method used to kill all microorganism. An item is sterile is free from all microorganisms.
- Isolation:separating the infected patient from others to prevent the spread of infection.
- Barrier practices: using barriers such as gloves, gowns, and masks, to prevent the spread of microorganisms.
- Blood and body fluid precautions: practices used to prevent the spread of microorganisms from blood and body fluids.
- Sharps precautions: practices use in handling and disposing of needles and syringes and other sharp objects.
- Waste disposal: proper disposal of biohazardous waste.
The importance of hand washing
Hand washing is the easiest and the most effective way to prevent the spread of infection.
Proper hand washing requires the use of an antimicrobial soap. With vigorous friction and use of antimicrobial soap, 10-20 seconds is sufficient. The CDC(centers of disease control) recommended washing the hands for at least 10 seconds.
Disinfection is the process of destroying pathogens on non-disposable items that become contaminated. An object is usually cleaned with soap and water before disinfection.
Sterilization: The most common sterilization method requires bringing the object to a very high temperature, under pressure, for a period of time. The objective is to kill all microorganisms.
For several years the CDC recommended the use of universal precautions, a method of infection control which assumed that all human blood and body fluids were potentially infectious.
Universal precautions included basic aseptic practices such as hand washing and the use of personal protective equipment barriers, such as gloves, gowns, masks, and eye protectors.
The revised CDC guidelines consist of two tiers of precautions: standard precautions and transmission-based precautions
Standard precautions replace universal precautions and body substances isolation. Standard precautions include protection against blood, body fluids, and body substances.
- Standard precautions are used when there is a possibility of contact with any of the following:
- 1. Blood;2. All body fluids, secretions, and excretions (expect sweat or tears);3. Non-intact skin(sores, skin tears, and other injuries);4. Mucous membranes(Thin sheets of tissue that line body openings)
The second tier of precautions is called transmission-based precautions and are to be used when the patient is known to be infected or suspected of being infected with certain contagious disease or conditions.
Transmission-based precautions condense all types of isolation into three categories: contact precautions, droplet precautions, and airborne precautions.
In addition to standard precautions, contact precautions are used to prevent the spread of infection by direct contact(touching the infected area) or indirect contact(touching an object that has been in contact with the infected area).