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Infection Control Tips in the Home

Cleanliness and good hygiene help prevent infection. “Contaminated materials” such as bandages, dressings or surgical gloves can spread infection, and harm the environment. If not disposed of properly, these items can injure trash handlers, family members and others who could be exposed to them.

Certain illnesses and treatments (i.e. chemotherapy, dialysis, AIDS, diabetes, burns) can make people more susceptible to infection. Your Nurse will instruct you on the use of protective clothing (gowns/gloves) if they are necessary.
Notify your physician and/or home care staff if you develop any of the following signs and symptoms of infection:
• pain/tenderness/redness or swelling of a body part
• inflamed skin/rash/sore/ulcer
• fever or chills
• painful urination
• sore throat/cough
• confusion
• increased tiredness/weakness
• nausea/vomiting/diarrhea
• pus (green/yellow drainage)

You can help control infection by following these guidelines:

Wash your hands before and after giving any care to the patient (even if wearing gloves), before handling or eating foods, and after using the toilet, changing a diaper, handling soiled linens, touching pets, coughing, sneezing or blowing nose.
Hand washing needs to be done frequently and correctly: remove jewelry; use warm water and soap (liquid soap is best); hold your hands down so water flows away from your arms; scrub for at least 10 to 15 seconds (30 seconds recommended), making sure you clean under your nails and between your fingers; dry your hands with a clean paper towel; and use a new paper towel to turn off the faucet. Apply hand lotion after washing to help prevent and soothe dry skin. Washing your hands is the single most important step in controlling the spread of infection.


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