Month: October 2018

08 Oct 2018

If You Want Your Patient To Live, Get Your Flu Shot!

Influenza virus is a prolific serial killer, killing 20,000 to 80,000 people in the US every year, yet is very preventable. We can learn from the history of epidemics to see how devastating it can be. Every 3-5 years we have an epidemic of a novel influenza strain that spreads rapidly and increases the US death rate into the 50,000 to 80,000 range. Every 20 years we have a pandemic which affects a majority of the population. The most cited epidemic, because it was so deadly, was the Influenza Pandemic of 1918, now over 100 years ago. It started in a military base in Kansas, and within 9 months 600,000 Americans died and there were 20 million deaths in the world. It killed more people than World War I. There were casket shortages and mass funerals. The most recent illnesses with H1N1 Influenza starting in 2009 has also had a big impact on the population,and we are continuing to see infections many years later. Had…

03 Oct 2018

Infection Prevention Practitioners – The Silent Heroes

Infection prevention. It’s that Clark Kent working behind the scenes to save lives before Superman saves lives. Working behind the scenes is an infection prevention practitioner.  Usually a nurse, he or she has been trained to prevent infections in healthcare facilities.  Remembering what we were taught in nursing school and medical school (along with common sense) equips everyone with the tools to prevent unnecessary healthcare acquired illnesses and impacts lives in an unseen fashion. With each process that is forgotten during our daily working lives in healthcare, it is like unleashing billions of enemy bacteria to invade our patients. If only we could see with our naked eyes the influence our actions have over these viruses and bacteria when we sanitize our hands, scrub the hub, and vaccinate our patients. And if only we could plainly see the repercussions if we do not believe our influence is real and we do not take these actions. Building an infection prevention program or maintaining and improving existing…