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What is the best way to prevent bacterial infections?

Proper hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent bacterial infections. Although hand washing is simple and effective, it is often overlooked. Other good methods of preventing infection include covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough, avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth, cleaning and disinfecting counters and other kitchen surfaces, cooking foods to proper temperatures, refrigerating foods promptly, following doctor's orders regarding immunizations, using antibiotics appropriately, practicing good hygiene around pets, and avoiding contact with wild animals.

Certain infections are screened for in the ICU setting. For example, MRSA and C. Diff infections are typically screened for. Special precautions are entertained for patients that have had a past history of infections such as those listed above. For those who have a documented infection, the ICU infectious disease control officer will determine what needs to be done to avoid spread of infection. This may include gowning, gloving and placing a surgical mask. Of course, the well known precautions should be followed with all patients: special handling of blood products, washing hands, cleaning surfaces and door knobs, etc.

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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.