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  • Writer's pictureRonnie Howell

Effective hygiene habits for the whole family

Updated: Jan 21, 2021

With the onset of Covid-19, hygiene has become an important factor in making sure we do everything that we can to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

These Standard Precautions are given to each of our caregivers upon hiring and we encourage everyone to follow these procedures, especially when dealing with the elderly as they are the most at risk right now.

Standard Precautions are based on the principle that all blood, body fluids, secretions, excretions (except sweat), non-intact skin, and mucous membranes may contain transmissible infectious agents. Standard Precautions include a group of infection prevention practices that apply to all patients, regardless of suspected or confirmed infection status, in any setting in which healthcare is delivered. These include: hand hygiene, use of gloves, gown, mask, eye protection, or face shield, depending on the anticipated exposure. Also, equipment or items in the patient environment likely to have been contaminated with infectious body fluids must be handled in a manner to prevent transmission of infectious agents (e.g., wear gloves for direct contact, contain heavily soiled equipment, properly clean and disinfect or sterilize reusable equipment before use on another patient). The application of Standard Precautions during patient care is determined by the nature of the interaction and the extent of anticipated blood, body fluid, or pathogen exposure. Assume that every person is potentially infected or colonized with an organism that could be transmitted in the healthcare setting and apply the following infection control practices during the delivery of health care:

Respiratory Hygiene/Cough Etiquette

This strategy is targeted at patients and accompanying family members and friends with undiagnosed transmissible respiratory infections, and applies to any person with signs of illness including cough, congestion, rhino rhea, or increased production of respiratory secretions. Actions include:

Covering the mouth/nose with a tissue when coughing and prompt disposal of used tissues;

Hand hygiene after contact with respiratory secretions; and

Spatial separation, ideally greater than 3 feet, of persons with respiratory infections in common waiting areas when possible. Covering sneezes and coughs and placing masks on coughing patients are proven means of source containment that prevent infected persons from dispersing respiratory secretions into the air.

Hand Hygiene

During the delivery of healthcare, avoid unnecessary touching of surfaces in close proximity to the patient to prevent both contamination of clean hands from environmental surfaces and transmission of pathogens from contaminated hands to surfaces. When hands are visibly dirty, wash hands with soap and water. If hands are not visibly soiled, or after removing visible material with nonantimicrobial soap and water, decontaminate hands with an alcohol-based hand rub. Alternatively, hands may be washed with an antimicrobial soap and water

Perform hand hygiene:

  • Before having direct contact with patients.

  • After contact with blood, body fluids or excretions, mucous membranes, nonintact skin, or wound dressings.

  • After contact with a patient's intact skin (e.g., when taking a pulse or blood pressure or lifting a patient).

  • If hands will be moving from a contaminated-body site to a clean-body site during patient care.

  • After contact with inanimate objects (including medical equipment) in the immediate vicinity of the patient.

Care of the Environment

Clean and disinfect surfaces that are likely to be contaminated with pathogens, including those that are in close proximity to the patient (e.g., bed rails, over bed tables) and frequently-touched surfaces in the patient care environment (e.g., door knobs, surfaces in and surrounding toilets in patients' rooms) on a more frequent schedule compared to that for other surfaces (e.g., horizontal surfaces in the living room). Handle used linens and laundry with minimum agitation to avoid contamination of air, surfaces and persons.

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