Doctor GlovesHospital acquired infections (HAIs) are a big deal. Just being patient carries a risk of illness and even death—regardless of why you’re in the hospital. According to the CDC, 1 in 25 patients will have AT LEAST one HAI.

Fighting against HAIs is top priority for most hospitals. The most profitable patients—delivering mothers, people getting elective surgeries—are free to choose where they go, plus, there’s national standards pressuring hospitals to do better. And no hospital wants to make headlines about spreading Hep C, MRSA, or other virulent disease! So most patients can see the efforts being made, whether it’s more outpatient surgery locations (where hopefully no one is bringing in serious illness, and patients reduce exposure with a quick stay), to more cleaning, to easier, more inventive cleaning.

And between cleanings, nanosilver coated surfaces are fighting germs. Silver is slowing growth on catheters and other tools, and protecting surfaces that aren’t always caught during cleanings. Even major companies that specialize in hospital cleaning look to silver for its millennia of use in fighting off pathogens.

And while surfaces are an important step, so are people. A new study found that doctors are spreading germs when they remove their gloves and other gear. (This was a huge problem for healthcare workers during the ebola outbreak!) In addition to a previous study that found gear like doc’s white coats carry germs, focusing on the human element is pretty important too!

What can you do as a patient? Look for signs that cleaning is taken seriously—including hand washing and waste disposal.

And support your immune system! When just being a patient is a risk, you need every advantage you can get!

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