In 2016 alone, over 290 thousand people visited a hospital for an overnight stay. Imagine the numbers on a day-to-day basis or over the course of two years, that’s a lot of people! A hospital stay is certainly no one's idea of a good time, but whether you’re there for yourself or a loved one, you’re bound to hangout in their room and within the hospital.

1 in 25 patients has at least one hospital acquired infection (HAIs) on a given day and many of these infections are preventable. An HAI is a major threat to any patient that stays in a hospital for sickness, treatments, surgery or other healthcare risks.

Ever wonder what is lurking around a hospital bed, floor and surgical supplies? These are the five common facts about HAIs that are lurking in hospitals.

1. These are common:

A HAI is surprisingly common in the United States. Over 722,000 of these infections occurred in the United States alone in 2011 states the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The most common is pneumonia, clostridium difficile (c. diff), and urinary tract infections.

2. Superbugs can occur once you get an infection:

 The Mayo Clinic defines a superbug as “strain of bacteria that is resistant to a majority of antibiotics commonly used today.” Overtime, with the overuse of prescription and over the counter drugs, the bacteria can adapt and become resistant to the drug that is designed to kill it off.

This isn’t a new trend in the medical field. This has been happening since the 1940s and earlier. A new class of antibiotics is needed to cure superbugs and reduce common HAIs like staph infection.

3. HAIs don’t only develop in patients who have surgery:

Yes, a patient can contract an HAI all on their own from their own body. One of the easiest ways to catch an infection is with bacteria entering your skin and going into the bloodstream or gut. Once the bacteria is inside the patient, it can cause havoc on their system.

Researchers from Stanford University’s School of Medicine have developed a software to identify the likely source causing HAIs. For over 40 percent of patients HAIs were caused by their own body, the large intestines were home to hundreds of bacterial strains.

So, your environment can cause the bacteria, but your gut could be the reason you’re getting sick.

4. Items deemed ready for surgery are not “clean:”

The next time you go into surgery, your items have been sterilized, but might not be fully clean and ready for the surgery. A common HAI, catheter associated urinary tract infection, is caused from a non-sterile medical item. A research study has shown that 71 percent of reusable medical items that have been deemed for surgery have tested for harmful bacteria.

5. Even common items are contaminated:

A hospital can’t always keep disease causing bacteria away at all times. A lab coat, stethoscopes, ties and more can all grab hold of disease causing bacteria that is in the hospital.

Hospital acquired infections are a preventable disease that kills thousands of patients each and every year. It’s important for all hospitals, healthcare professionals and patients to understand the dangers when it comes to HAIs.  

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