You need to enforce good hand hygiene for your hospitalized family member with a smile and a gentle tone of voice, but be persistent. It can save a life. And here are some other good tips:
- If it’s a planned hospitalization, the hospital-bound person should wash with a chlorhexidine-based soap for at least two days beforehand. A common brand is Hibiclens.
- Don’t be lulled into complacency by gloves alone. Just because someone touching you is wearing a pair of gloves doesn’t make them clean. Unless they don them in your presence, you can know the gloves are teeming with germs. (I always wonder why the TSA screeners at the airport wear the same latex gloves to pat down passenger after passenger, but the point of those gloves must be to protect them, not you.)
- Have the patient’s bedside advocate wipe down all surfaces in the hospital room on arrival with a Windex-type alcohol spray. This gets rid of a lot of bugs left over from the last patient in the room.
- Try to get into a hospital that tests everyone on admission for the MRSA bug with a cotton swab in the nose. Any “carriers” of the bug — and there are many — get isolated in special rooms. That is the best and most proven practice to prevent this super bug.
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