Consumers play an important role in helping to prevent infections. After all, infection prevention is everyone’s business.
The following healthcare topics (formerly posted on APIC’s consumer website preventinfection.org) provide helpful tips and information for consumers on their role in stopping the transmission of infection. Sign up to receive monthly alerts from APIC about consumer-related infection topics.
Hepatitis C screening for baby boomers
If you were born during 1945-1965, talk to your doctor about getting tested for hepatitis C. More than 15,000 Americans, most of them baby boomers, die each year from hepatitis C-related illness. Deaths related to hepatitis C have been on the rise and are expected to increase. Hepatitis C is a leading cause of liver cancer and the leading reason for liver transplants.
CRE: The ‘nightmare bacteria’
CRE (carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae) infections come from bacteria that are normally found in a healthy person’s digestive tract. When a person is receiving serious medical care (for example, involving urinary catheters, intravenous catheters, or surgery) these bacteria can end up where they don’t belong—for example in the bladder or blood. Because these bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics, these infections are very difficult to treat.
Outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics—what you need to know
What is the difference between outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics? What do consumers need to know to be best prepared? The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) presents some practical information so everyone can feel most prepared.
Top 10 ways to prevent infection in the New Year
The idea of a new year represents a fresh start and an opportunity to make resolutions to achieve specific goals. What about setting some New Year’s resolutions to prevent infections before they ever happen to you? Beyond the obvious—steering clear of runny noses and hacking coughs—the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) presents some other practical ways of staying infection-free.
National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW), December 2-8, 2012
National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is a national observance that was established to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination, as well as a reminder to people that there is still time to get their flu shot after the holiday season into January and beyond. Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza virus. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. Even healthy people can get sick enough to miss work or school for a significant amount of time or even be hospitalized. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.
Antibiotics – Preserving them for the future
Antibiotics are life-saving drugs used to treat bacterial infections. Using antibiotics inappropriately contributes to the rise in antibiotic-resistant infections. As a result, stronger, more expensive antibiotics are needed to overcome the same bacteria. People who develop antibiotic-resistant infections are more likely to need hospitalization and are at increased risk for death.
Herpes Zoster vaccine—Protection that adds up!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles (Herpes Zoster). People with shingles develop a painful skin rash. Shingles can also cause symptoms, such as fever and headache. Rarely, the infection can lead to pneumonia, hearing problems, blindness, brain inflammation (encephalitis) or death. The CDC recommends that adults ages 60 and older should receive the Zostavax vaccine to prevent shingles. Learn more about how to reduce the risk and complications of shingles.
Scabies and lice — How nice!
Just the words scabies and lice can start to make you itch, but with a little knowledge on your side these common creepy crawlies can be treated and prevented. Learn the facts, and ditch the myths.
Rabies: What you need to know
Rabies is a virus that is transmitted from animals to humans (or other animals) through saliva, central nervous system tissue (brain, spinal cord), and brain/spinal cord fluid. The fluid or tissue containing the virus enters the system via fresh bites or scratches or through contacting the eyes, nose, and mouth. Rabies affects mammals and is often found in bats, skunks, raccoons, foxes, cats (feral), dogs, and livestock. Bites by some animals, such as bats, can inflict minor injury and can sometimes be difficult to detect. It is therefore important to understand the disease, be able to recognize an exposure, and know how to protect yourself after an exposure has occurred.
Get the facts about necrotizing fasciitis: “Flesh-eating Disease”
There are many strains of bacteria that can cause the flesh-eating disease known as necrotizing fasciitis, but most cases are caused by a bacteria called group A strep, or Streptococcus pyogenes. More common infections with group A strep are not only strep throat, but also a skin infection called impetigo. Flesh-eating strep infections or necrotizing fasciitis is considered rare.
If you could prevent cancer with a vaccine, would you get it?
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that can cause cervical, penile, anal, vaginal, and/or oropharyngeal (mouth or throat) cancers. In 2006, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommended vaccination against HPV for all girls 11 or 12 years of age. In 2011, the ACIP recommended that boys ages 11 or 12 also receive the vaccine. Since there is no cure for the virus, vaccination is the best way to prevent people from getting the illness.
Preventing infections when visiting the nail salon or tattoo parlor
If you’re thinking about heading to the nail salon for a little pampering or getting a new tattoo, follow these infection prevention strategies to decrease your risk of getting an infection.
Listeria infection and IIPW
October 16-22, 2011 marks the 25th Anniversary of International Infection Prevention Week (IIPW). Supported by an unrestricted educational grant from 3M Health Care, IIPW brings attention to the importance of infection prevention and commemorates the important work of infection preventionists, dedicated experts who partner with your healthcare team, using proven methods to ensure that you stay safe from healthcare-associated infections during your visit.
Prevent infections by keeping your environment clean
Keeping your environment clean -- whether at home, work, school or the hospital -- is an important way to prevent infection. Dangerous germs can take up residence anywhere. By keeping them to a minimum, you will reduce your chances of developing an infection and improve your health.
Meningococcal disease: What you need to know
Meningococcal disease is a very serious bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis. It is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children ages 2 through 18 in the United States. Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, which are the membranes that enclose the brain and spinal cord.
Mosquitoes, west nile virus and you
The “Fight the Bite” campaign championed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has one focus – to eliminate or radically reduce diseases in humans that are carried by mosquitoes. One of those diseases is West Nile Virus (abbreviated WNV), which was first recognized in the United States in 1999. Since then, a lot has been learned about this virus which is thought to have originated in Africa, west Asia and Europe.
Infection Prevention and You
Learn about who is working to keep you safe from healthcare-associated infections and how you can have a role in speaking up about your care.
Don't let bugs--invisible or visible--ruin your summer vacation!
Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer when millions of families and friends plan to take a summer vacation. Despite soaring gas prices, and an economy that is far from recovered, a recent survey by Home Away Inc. found that the majority of Americans still plan to travel. Most will vacation in the United States but about one out of 10 will venture abroad, despite energy costs and the weak dollar.
Five important reasons to vaccinate your child
You want to do what is best for your children. You know about the importance of car seats, baby gates and other ways to keep them safe. But, did you know that one of the best ways to protect your children is to make sure they have all of their vaccinations?
You never outgrow vaccines
Vaccine-preventable diseases haven't gone away. The truth is, the viruses and bacteria that cause illness and death still exist and can be passed on to people who are not protected by vaccines.
Cold and Influenza
Every year, colds and flu spread across the country from person to person and family to family. This month, PI.org offers information on the difference between colds and flu and how to guard your health this season.
Responsible use of antibiotics
Antibiotics are precious, just as our lives are precious. To protect our lives we must use antibiotics wisely.
Holidays and foodborne illness
During the holiday season, we gather with friends and family for pot lucks, parties, catered events and celebrations in our homes and in restaurants. It is important to take steps to avoid food poisoning through the proper handling and preparation of food both during the holidays and throughout the year.
Infection prevention outside the hospital
We know that hospital rooms can harbor germs that can cause serious infections, especially for elderly or immunocompromised patients. But did you know that germs and infections live everywhere, even out in the community? As the "family infection preventionist," understand the risks and take action in preventing the spread of community infections. We all play a part in keeping loved ones safe and cared for at home and while eating out.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can result from the bite of an infected deer tick. It was first described in 1977 and got its name from a case that occurred in Lyme, CT. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the number of reported cases has gradually risen since 1994. Infected ticks are found mainly in the Northeast, upper Midwest and along the Northwest coast. This infection, if left untreated, can affect the heart, muscles, joints, and nervous system. The good news is that most people who are bitten by a tick will not develop Lyme disease (less than 1%).
Workplace infection prevention
Most Americans work outside the home. Whether in an office or in a more non-traditional setting, we come into contact with many different individuals and multiple potential reservoirs for the transmission of infection. So what can we do on a routine basis to protect our health and the overall health of our working environment?
Infection prevention while traveling
Before Your Trip... Talk With Your Doctor about how to stay healthy while traveling, discussing any concerns about how your health could be impacted by the planned trip.
Infection prevention in the home
A fresh start... As we emerge from the long winter, so too do many of the germs tracked inside from our snow boots, pets' feet and hibernating AC units. Although spring cleaning can be a major undertaking, maintaining an infection-free, healthy home is worth the time and energy you will spend. Spring cleaning reinforces our commitment to keep germs out of the home and stop infectious diseases from spreading in the warm months ahead. Below are helpful tips and reminders from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) on essential home areas to clean, and how to best tackle these high-risk germ havens.
Caring for family members with seasonal and 2009 H1N1 flu
National Influenza Vaccination Week (January 10-16, 2010) is an opportunity to remind the public that vaccination is the best way to prevent the flu and the importance of continuing influenza vaccination after the holiday season and beyond. This flu season could be worse than usual with more people getting sick. The good news is that most people can be cared for at home and will feel better in about a week. As we approach the mid-point of flu season, APIC offers these tips on how to create a sick room in your home (adapted from material published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Surgical site infections (SSIs)
A surgical site infection is one that occurs following surgery, around the site of the surgical incision. While SSIs are uncommon, they occur in about 1%-3% of every 100 surgery patients.
H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu)
October 18-24, 2009 is International Infection Prevention Week (IIPW). IIPW is an annual event to raise awareness about the importance of infection prevention and what consumers can do to guard against infections. As H1N1 influenza continues to spread and more people become infected with the virus, APIC's message for IIPW 2009 focuses on how consumers can stay healthy during this flu season.
Keeping your hospital room clean
Hospital rooms can harbor germs that can cause serious infections, especially for elderly patients, those with weakened immune systems and those who have undergone surgery or who have catheters or tubes inserted in the body. National Environmental Services and Housekeeping Week (September 13-19, 2009) is an opportunity to remind patients what an important role they can play in reducing the risk of infection transmission by keeping their hospital room as clean as possible.
It's back-to-school time, and while many parents worry about their children contracting the novel H1N1 virus sometimes called swine flu at school or camp, there are plenty of other annoying bugs being shared, such as head lice.
Clostridium difficile, the life-threatening bacterium that causes diarrhea and more serious intestinal conditions, is sickening many more patients than previously estimated, according to a 2008 study released by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).
Hepatitis and dialysis
In recognition of Hepatitis Awareness Month APIC presents information on these infections, why patients undergoing dialysis are more susceptible and what dialysis patients can do to protect themselves from hepatitis and other infections.
Reduce your risk of infection before an ambulatory procedure
Outpatient or ambulatory healthcare clinics are facilities that provide surgery and diagnostic services outside of the hospital. Commonly performed outpatient procedures include endoscopy/colonoscopy, hemodialysis, cataract surgery, ear/nose/throat procedures, gynecological procedures, gall bladder removal, kidney/bladder procedures, arthroscopic/orthopedic procedures and hernia operations.
Keeping loved ones safe from infection in healthcare facilities
Visitors to a healthcare facility play an important role in guarding patient safety. To commemorate Patient Safety Awareness Week (March 8-14), the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) offers simple tips to be a good visitor. Learn more at www.preventinfection.org.
"Hand Hygiene Saves Lives" DVD
This month, PreventInfection.org focuses its attention on a new DVD being shown in hospital waiting rooms across the nation that empowers patients to speak up about hand hygiene while in a healthcare facility.