Healthcare-Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance For Patients

Patients and their loved ones can be active participants in staying healthy in a hospital by helping to prevent the spread of germs, including antibiotic-resistant germs, and knowing what healthcare personnel are doing to prevent spread of germs.

There are steps YOU can take to prevent healthcare associated infections and the development of antimicrobial resistance!

It is important to know that anyone, through everyday activities can prevent antimicrobial resistance and the chances of picking up an infection while being treated:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol based hand rub.
  • Use antibiotics only as prescribed. Do not save them for later or share with others.
  • Have a discussion with your doctor:
    • Do not request antibiotics if your physician does not think you need them.
    • Ask if tests are needed or being completed to ensure you are taking the best antibiotic possible.
    • Ask what the signs and symptoms are of an infection after an injury or surgery.
    • Contact your doctor if you have three or more episodes of diarrhea within 24 hours, especially while taking antibiotics.
    • Let your doctor know if you have ever had an infection caused by or have been told you carry a drug resistant organism. Some examples include:
      • Carbapenem Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE)
      • Vancomycin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VRSA)
      • Candida auris
      • Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus (VRE)
      • Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
  • Stay up to date with all vaccines.
  • If you ever have an indwelling urinary catheter, ask if it can come out or is needed every day you have it.

Pet and Animal Health

Antimicrobial resistant germs have the ability to flow between humans, animals and the environment, which leads to an increased number of difficult-to-treat and sometimes deadly infections. All recommendations for responsible antibiotic use that are true in humans are also true for your pet:

  • Only give antibiotics to your pets when necessary
  • Do not insist on antibiotics if not recommended by your veterinarian
  • Always have pets finish full courses of antibiotics
  • Always ask if it is time to stop antibiotic treatment if given to them for a long time

As a pet owner, you have an important role in providing your pet and yourself with the best health possible and reducing the spread of antibiotic resistance.