Infection Control – Remember these Tips if Caring For Sick People
June 10, 2019
When caring for a sick person, infection control is important to ensure they return quickly back to health and do not infect others around them – including you, the carer.
Infectious diseases refer to diseases that can be transferred from one individual to the other either directly or indirectly.
Direct methods of transfer happen by contact with an infected person or the infected person’s body fluids (blood/saliva/urine etc).
Indirect methods are by transfer through a vector – that is, an agent which transmits the infection from one person to the next.
An example is the Mosquito: it is a vector for Malaria, as it transmits the parasite causing disease from an infected person to another individual.
Some common infectious diseases responsible for significant health burden in many developing countries include Lassa fever, Cholera, Meningitis and of serious concern recently – Ebola.
These are conditions that should be managed in a clinical facility rather
When a person is ill with an infectious disease, preventing transmission from one person to the other is important while they get better.
This is the basic principle of Infection Control.
Infection Control is important – not just in hospital or clinics but in our homes, shops, restaurants and any other public place.
Sometimes there are conditions that don’t require hospitalisation, for example, Chicken Pox or mild/moderate Food poisoning causing Gastroenteritis that can be carefully
Or there is a relative who has just been discharged from hospital to recuperate at home after recent surgery or condition like stroke or heart attack.
It is now your responsibility to practice infection control while you care for your loved one – at home.
Infection control simply means the things we do to prevent the transmission of infection from an infected person to another person; and control the spread of an infection.
In the case or someone recovering at home, it could also mean ensuring they do not pick up common easily transmitted illnesses from friends or family visiting.
This is because they would struggle to shake off such ‘simple illnesses’ as they are still in a recovery state and have a weakened immune system.
Simple things to do while caring for your sick loved one include:
Wash your hands with soap and water for approximately 20 seconds (as long as it takes you to sing the happy birthday song twice). Importantly, wash your hands before you take care of the sick person, and after taking care of them. Alternatively, you can use alcohol hand rubs – if your hands are visibly clean – to reduce the risk of spreading germs.
Dry your hands after washing them. Use a clean dry cloth or disposable paper rolls after washing your hands.
Clean all used garments, even if they do not look visibly dirty. Wash all soiled garments and beddings of the sick individual and dry under heat such as the sun or hot dryer. It is important for them to be clean and dry.
Dispose of all waste properly. Put your waste in a plastic bag and take them out of the house. They should be far away from your water source, and from where you cook and eat. Ideally, to limit the possibility of spreading disease, such waste should be carefully collected from homes and treated at clearly identified refuse sites far from communal public areas.
Use gloves when you have to be in contact with the ill person’s fluids, open wounds or soiled garments. This will protect you from getting ill yourself or spreading the illness.
Do not let everyone be exposed to the direct care of the patient. This will ensure fewer people are exposed to getting the illness. Others can help in ways that do not directly expose them to the disease.
Watch out for similar symptoms in people who are in close contact with the ill person. This is because early presentation for medical advice is very important and most times make a difference in outcomes.
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Edited by AskAwayHealth Team
All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising Medical Practitioners on a wide range of health care conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality health care. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified health care practitioner.
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