What kinds of infections could I get in the hospital?

Hospitals are breeding grounds for infection. You can get an infection from devices, equipment, friends, and caregivers. Despite efforts to avoid them, some of the most common are:
  • Surgical Site Infection (SSI): Surgical sites are particularly susceptible to infection. Your skin serves as a primary barrier against infection. Just like getting a cut on your knee, when your skin is broken, it opens the door for germs to enter and cause infection. The infection can manifest itself on the skin or deeper in the body. Surgical site infections are not always immediately apparent.
  • Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infection (CLABSI): Central lines may be inserted into patients who need fluids and intravenous medicines on a frequent basis. Most often, central lines are used in the ICU. Unfortunately, if inserted or cleaned improperly, central lines can allow germs to enter your blood system via the same tubes. These infections can be very serious, and are often deadly.
  • Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection (CAUTI): Often patients are equipped with a catheter to remove urine while they recover in the hospital. These catheters are likely places to harbor germs that can result in infection. CAUTI is very common. Most CAUTIs are not serious, but they can lead to serious problems if they enter the bloodstream.
  • Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia (VAP): Ventilator-associated pneumonia is an infection that can happen when germs get into the tubing that is helping the patient breathe. VAP can be very serious, as patients that need assistance to breathe are often very ill and susceptible to infection due to their weakened state.
  • Clostridium difficile: This infection is frequently referred to as c-diff, and can cause diarrhea. Patients on antibiotics and the elderly are more likely to contract it.
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA): MRSA is a skin infection that can be particularly dangerous, as it can be resistant to antibiotics. It spreads by contact. It is also called a staph infection.
  • Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus (VRE): This germ lives in the intestines and in the female genital track. It typically doesn’t present a problem, but when it does, it can result in an infection of the urinary tract, bloodstream, or skin wounds.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.