Anyone getting medical care is at some risk for an HAI; however, some people are at higher risk than others, including the following:
Very young people – premature babies and very sick children.
Very old people – the frail and the elderly.
People with certain medical conditions – such as diabetes.
People with weakened immune systems – from disease, or because they are getting trreatments that weaken their immune system. Cancer treatments (like chemotherapy or radiation) or steroids are treatments that can weaken the immune system.
Other risk factors:
Length of stay in a healthcare facility – a long hospital stay.
Surgery – long and complicated surgery.
Hand washing techniques – inadequate hand washing by hospital staff, visitors, and patients.
Antibiotics – overuse of antibiotics can lead to resistant bacteria, which means that antibiotics become less effective and do not work as well.
Equipment – medical equipment that enters the body can introduce bacteria and infection into the body. For example, urinary catheters, intravenous drips and infusions, respiratory equipment, and drain tubes.
Wounds – wounds, incisions (surgical cuts), burns, and skin ulcers are all prone to infection.
High-risk patient care areas – some patient care areas are more likely to have infections, such as hospital intensive care units.
To contact the Healthcare Associated Infections Program, please call 860-509-7995.