Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs): What You Need to Know
Hospital and healthcare environments are breeding grounds for invasive bacteria if proper atmospheric conditions aren’t met. Known as Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs), they can make illness more difficult to curb and effectively treat. Today, let’s detail what you need to know about HAIs and how infection control can be boosted using solutions such as evaporative coolers and more proactive hygiene.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hundreds of millions of patients are affected by HAIs annually, leading to higher mortality rates and significant negative impact on health system budgets. The cause is inconsistent air quality and atmospheric condition control, combined with inadequate sanitization standards. HAIs require more work to mitigate, as the healthcare environment itself is what influences them.
Impacts of HAIs on Healthcare Providers
There are a number of factors that can make HAIs a nightmare to deal with in a hospital environment, both logistically and financially. Prolonged periods of hospitalization, special infection control measures, and expensive treatments as well as surveillance all contribute to higher operating costs. This can make it more difficult for hospitals to maintain a set level of service if the budget can’t stretch for it. Common bacteria found in hospitals include MRSA and VRE, for example, which can require these extra forms of treatment to care for patients and reduce the infection spread.
How to Combat Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs)
Infection Control and Hygiene
How a hospital is equipped and organized to treat infections will generally make a major impact in curbing HAIs. If there are areas of the property that don’t have adequate handwashing or sanitization systems available, it will have a higher bacterial count. However, that’s not all that needs to be done: High-risk patients and those with infectious illnesses need to be treated in a sterilized environment that discourages bacterial transfer. For example, if someone with a highly-contagious flu strain stays in the waiting room with other patients and is then cared for in a regular hospital treatment room, there are more chances for their illness to be passed on to healthcare workers, visitors and other patients. Appropriate infection control and hygiene should be implemented for the well-being of everyone in the surrounding environment. This will also lead to less likelihood of an infected patient being made ill by contracting other bacterial strains.
Proper Humidity Control
The air we breathe in healthcare environments plays a huge role in terms of treatment effectiveness, patient recovery time, and infection control. Airborne infections are one such risk that can be mitigated with proper humidity control: 40 to 60 percent relative humidity will diminish the reach of airborne particles and bacteria contained in aerosols. This is because the correct amount of hydration in the air increases their weight, causing them to fall to the ground more quickly and have a shorter travel distance. Combined with temperature control from systems such as evaporative coolers, humidity is the key in minimizing HAIs in general, as well as electrostatic shocks and other detractors to hospital service quality.
Hospitals need to be safe, comfortable places that encourage effective treatment and faster recovery. With proper humidity control and a future-facing hygiene plan in place, any healthcare environment is better defended against Healthcare-Associated Infections. Did you know? The Condair DL Series Adiabatic Humidifier meets ASHRAE 170 Standards. For more information on our evaporative coolers and humidification solutions, contact us at Condair today.