Hi blog readers! It’s Heather back with your weekly health care post.  The CDC has come out with a new report on hospital infections that serves as a good reminder to all of us about disease prevention.  Wash those hands people!

Washing HandsYou’re sick, so you go to the hospital to get better, right?  That should be the case, but new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that 1 out of every 25 hospital patients got an infection while they were in the hospital.  That amounted to 722,000 infections and 75,000 deaths per year which means that over 200 Americans die every day from infections they received at the hospital.  The 2011 report was published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine.

So, where are all these infections coming from?  Pneumonia, surgical site infections and gastrointestinal infections (for example, C. diff) accounted for 60% of all cases – and infections from devices such as catheters and breathing tubes made up approximately 25% of all infections.

So, what’s to blame for the shocking number of hospital-acquired infections?  There can be a variety of causes (including improperly sterilized equipment and overuse of antibiotics), but according to the CDC, the main culprit is simply a lack of proper hand washing.

So wash those hands people – and insist that your health care providers do the same!

According to APIC, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, “keeping your hands clean is the number one way to prevent the spread of infection.”

Until next week….be healthy.  And wash those hands!