Infection Prevention

How to prevent an infection before being admitted to hospital

  • Ask your doctor about any vaccines you may need to prevent respiratory illness including influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines.
  • Follow any recommendations from your health-care providers regarding weight, diabetes management or smoking before hospitalization. This may help to prevent an infection following surgery.

How to prevent an infection while in hospital

  • Hand hygiene is the number one way to prevent the spread of germs. All staff should clean hands before providing care. Feel free to ask a staff member if they have cleaned their hands prior to caring for you.
  • Cover your cough with a fresh tissue and try to keep your hands away from your face as germs can enter through the nose, eyes and mouth.
  • Let your care provider know if you require a clean gown or linens or other personal hygiene supplies.
  • Try to keep the area surrounding your bed clutter-free. This enables housekeeping staff to properly clean your room.
  • Some patients are placed on “additional precautions” while in hospital. This would mean that anyone visiting maybe required to wear gloves, gown, or masks.
  • Inform your care provider if any of your dressings are loose, if your incision is red or tender or has increased drainage.
  • Follow your care providers’ special instructions, such as breathing exercises or directions for getting out of bed, as this can help prevent a lung infection (pneumonia).

How to prevent an infection after you go home from hospital:

  • Watch for any signs or symptoms that may indicate an infection such as increased or unexpected pain, chills or fever, increased drainage, pus or swelling of a surgical wound.
  • Complete the full course of any antibiotics that may have been provided by your doctor.
  • Follow all discharge instructions that were provided to you by your health-care providers.
  • Be sure to attend any follow-up appointments with your health-care team.

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Last updated: 2021-06-01