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How to Prevent an Infection while in Hospital

Before you are admitted:
  • Ask your doctor about any vaccines you may need to prevent respiratory illness including influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines.
  • Follow any recommendations from your healthcare providers regarding weight, diabetes management, or smoking before hospitalization. This may help to prevent an infection following surgery.
Once you've been admitted:
  • Hand hygiene is the number one way to prevent the spread of germs. All staff should clean hands before providing care. Feel free to ask a staff member if they have cleaned their hands prior to caring for you;
  • Cover your cough with a fresh tissue and try to keep your hands away from your face as germs can enter through the nose, eyes and mouth;
  • Let your care provider know if you require a clean gown or linens or other personal hygiene supplies;
  • Try to keep the area surrounding your bed clutter-free. This enables housekeeping staff to properly clean your room;
  • Some patients are placed on “additional precautions” while in hospital. This would mean that anyone visiting maybe required to wear gloves, gown, or masks;
  • Inform your care provider if any of your dressings are loose, if your incision is red or tender or has increased drainage; and
  • Following your healthcare providers’ instructions regarding any special exercises or breathing exercises or directions for getting out of bed-this can help prevent a lung infection. (pneumonia).
Once you go home:
  • Watch for any signs or symptoms that may indicate an infection such as increased or unexpected pain, chills or fever, increased drainage, pus or swelling of a surgical wound; 
  • Complete the full course of any antibiotics that may have been provided by your doctor;
  • Follow all discharge instructions that were provided to you by your healthcare providers; and
  • Be sure to attend any follow-up appointments with your healthcare team.

Learn more
  • To learn more about prevention, check out our Education Resources for patients, families and health professionals alike.



Downloadable Documents:
Infection Control in Healthcare (PDF)

Updated Sep 16, 2015