There are several types of infections that can affect the health and well being of your clients. This in-service will address some of the most common ailments and what you can do to control the causes of and spread of infection.
Hand washing is the single most important tool in preventing the spread of infection. Hands should be washed under running water with soap rubbing hands together briskly for at least 15 – 20 seconds or as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday. Antibacterial hand cleaner may also be used in CONJUNCTION with good hand washing technique. Washing with soap and water is still required when hands are visibly soiled or if you can feel the build up of hand cleaner on your hands. You should wash your hands before and after client contact. Wearing gloves is necessary when you will be in contact with blood or body fluids. You must still wash your hands before putting on gloves and after removing gloves.
Gloves need to be changed after each client contact and disposed of in the trash. Do not “snap “ gloves when removing them – carefully remove your gloves by turning them inside out while removing them to contain blood or body fluids. Snapping gloves may splash body fluids or blood on to your body or into your eyes. Hands need to be washed before and after wearing gloves. Do not put on new gloves until you are ready to provide care. Gloves and hand washing are designed to protect both you and the client
Masks are worn when there is a chance of droplet infection in respiratory illnesses such as the flu or influenza. Masks should be worn when you will be within 3 feet of an infected person, droplet infection can occur in areas less than 3 feet from the client. Masks should be removed and disposed of after each client contact. Do not remove your mask until you have washed your hands.
Urinary Tract Infections
Most UTI’s are caused by E-Coli infections but other organisms can be to blame. It is important to know that a certain number of bacteria and other organisms are normal in the urinary tract.
Signs and Symptoms of UTI’s
1. painful urination
2. fever, abdominal or back pain
3. cloudy or unusual appearance of the urine
4. unusual foul smelling odor of the urine
1. the most common cause of UTI is fecal contamination
2. females may also have contamination of the urinary tract from organisms at the vaginal tract
3. in males obstructions of the urinary tract are sometimes related to the prostate are a common cause of UTI
4. poor voiding habits, waiting too long to use the bathroom or not completely emptying the bladder
Prevention of UTI’s
1. Wash female’s from front to back – start at the urinary meatus and wash backwards toward the rectal area. Do not reuse the washcloth after touching the rectal area. This technique should be followed at bath time and with incontinent patients, after each bowel movement. Continent clients should also be taught to wipe front to back.
2. Drinking plenty of fluids especially water will lower the concentration of bacteria in the urine
3. Avoid bladder irritants – caffeine and aspartame—Nutra Sweet
4. Avoid perfumed soaps and powders near the vaginal entrance
5. Be sure to toilet clients frequently or as soon as they need to void
6. Be sure that the client has had time to completely empty the bladder when using the toilet – do not rush them
7. Change incontinent clients frequently
8. Cranberry juice can be helpful to prevent UTI’s but it needs to be 100% juice not heavily sugared “juice cocktails” – Cranberry capsules are also now readily available if the patients doctor aggress with using them
9. Wash your hands before and after providing personal care – be sure to wear gloves and change them between clients
Treatment of UTI’s
1. Antibiotics will be ordered by the doctor
2. Increase fluid intake during treatment of a UTI
3. Follow the prevention methods above
Gastroenteritis means inflammation of the stomach and intestines. It is commonly referred to as “stomach flu” but is not caused by influenza. Gastroenteritis commonly causes vomiting and or diarrhea. For most people gastroenteritis is not serious BUT for the elderly or disabled it can become serious and may require hospitalization for dehydration.
Signs and Symptoms
1. watery diarrhea
5. abdominal cramps
6. symptoms begin 1-2 days following infection and last 1- 10 days
1. frequent hand washing- wash hands before and after client contact and in between client contacts
2. wear gloves when handling blood or body fluids- it is essential to wash hands before and after wearing gloves
3. gowns should be worn if it is likely that your clothing will be contaminated by body fluids or stool
4. use caution in handling soiled linens, soiled briefs and clothing
5. caregivers should not work with patients or handle food if they have an active gastrointestinal virus, food can become contaminated causing illness in those who may eat it
6. limit visitors who have signs and symptoms of illness
7. wipe down tables and counters with a bleach solution ¼ cup bleach to 1 gallon of water
8. limit movement of infected persons around facilites
1. encourage fluids (water) and re-hydration products such as electrolyte replacement drinks and Sports drinks
2. the doctor may order medication for symptoms – antibiotics are not indicated for viral infections and are ineffective
3. hospitalization and IV fluid replacement may be needed for severe cases of
Flu or Influenza
Influenza or flu season occurs every year usually in December through April. Flu is characterized by fever and respiratory symptoms and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. A common complication of flu is pneumonia especially in the elderly. Infected persons are the most infectious to others the day BEFORE and during the first three days of symptoms but can be contagious up to 7 days from the onset of symptoms.