Hospitals are one of many public places that spread diseases. Contrary to what they are supposed to do, they sometimes transmit these infections to healthy individuals that are here to attend their patients.
With all the sick people, workers, visitors, it is easy to understand that a hospital can be a highly contaminated place. There are some specific areas that are particularly extremely dirty. Double check to avoid touching any of them and wash your hands after you come in contact with any of the followings.
1- Privacy curtains around the bed
Intended to make some privacy for the patient, these privacy curtains cater bacteria viruses and all other microbes. A research published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology proves that privacy curtains spread microbes.
Due to the constant rush of patients, healthcare workers, attendants, and visitors in and out of hospitals, anything that comes into touch may have microbes. These privacy curtains that are around the patient’s bed report to be contaminated within days of fresh cleaning. Surprisingly, 90% of the microbes on these curtains are highly dangerous antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria (MRSA). (Read a research on it by clicking here)
2- Bed rails around the patient’s bed
Bed rails in a hospital are a second favorite spot of microbes to live for weeks. You may wonder that how can these microbes stay and live on these stainless steel rails but it is true that they do. In fact, studies show that Staphylococcus aureus bacteria and Clostridium difficile can live up to one year on it is on such surfaces (Read a study here)
Now that you know both patients and healthcare workers touch these bed rails which are a hub of microbes. Not to mention these bed rails are highly unlikely to be cleaned as a part of daily cleaning. In any case, you are there to attend a patient, consider wiping them with a disinfectant daily.
3- The bed carts to hold trays
Bed carts are the little rolling handles that you use to set lunch tray on the bed. As per studies, it is one of the most touched objects at any hospital. It means bacteria and fungi have maximum chances to adhere to it and picked up by any touch. To your surprise, these surfaces are touched many times a day by many people. It makes these bed carts one of the biggest contributors to for a hospital-acquired infection. Nearly 90,000 people in the USA die from hospital-borne infections annually. (read the complete research here)
4- The IV pole near the bed
The IV poles are those small stands that are placed next to the patient’s bed to hold IV bags. Sometimes they are fixed with the bed but many times they are movable. You may often see nurses and hospital workers placing the IV bag on these stands.
These poles have been found to be a nest of multiple disease-causing bacteria such as MRSA and antibiotic-resistant Enterococci bacteria (VRE) as the study explains.
All infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria are very hard to treat. This situation is alarming because all common medications will not work on them. That’s why it is necessary to prevent the chances of all such infections to hit a person at first place.
5- Elevator buttons
Ever though elevator buttons also spread infections? In the case of public places, yes they do. Doctors, nurses, patients, visitors, and all other people constantly use elevators every now and then. Here all the germs that they have on their hands transmit to the elevator buttons and when the next person touches them, they are transmitted.
The research studied elevator buttons to be causing hospital-borne infections and found that more than one-third are contaminated by MRSA (Read the complete study here). Elevator buttons are often neglected while cleaning the hospitals that’s why they become a potential site for various bacterial colonization.
6- Arm of visitor’s chairs
Anyone visiting a hospital certainly uses the visitor’s chairs. But do you know that the arm-rests of visitor chairs are not that clean? All the hospital furniture including visitor’s chairs has a risk of habituating antibiotic-resistant Enterococci bacteria. These bacteria are one of the biggest causes of difficult-to-cure wound infections or urinary tract infections. (Click here to read a research)
Hospital telephones are not that much used but you can’t completely ignore the fact that they are clean. In fact, they are not even cleaned that frequently. Many people including patients, visitors, and hospital staff use them and that’s why their cleanliness is also a question. There is a high chance for them to be contaminated by
Any drug-resistant bacteria. Wiping the phone before using in your hospital room is a good preventive measure. Make sure that you wash your hand after you finish using the phone.
8- Water faucets
Bathrooms and especially the hard surfaces of hospital bathrooms are often contaminated with bacterial strains present in fecal matter and droplets expelled from open toilets during flushing. But any faucet whether inside or outside restrooms is a home to multiple bacterial strains. Try using a paper towel to turn the faucets off after washing your hands. For more care, use a hand sanitizer after you wash your hands.
9- Door knobs/handles
The hospital staff, visitors, and patients everyone touches the door knobs to enter in and out of hospital rooms. Various studies suggest that more than 30 percent of door handles may be contaminated by MRSA. (Click here to read one study) Make sure to sanitize your hands while entering or leaving any hospital room next time.
10- Anything that your nurse uses
Anything that is touched by multiple people would definitely have a huge collection of bacterial strains. Whenever possible, try to avoid touching these surfaces that come to your contact. Especially the objects that your nurse or any other hospital staff frequently use, avoid touching it. Make sure that you use hand sanitizer at regular intervals whenever you’re in a hospital next time.