Preventing and controlling infections
What causes infection and its spread?
Many microorganisms can cause infection, as germs are the microscopic living bodies always present in the atmosphere. These germs can spread infection quickly, particularly in children who play together and do not have fully developed immune system.
Types of infection causing microorganism
These are part of daily human life, as they reside inside the body and spread outside in atmosphere as well. Most of the bacteria are not harmful. However, the harmful bacteria can cause infections like whooping cough (pertussis), streptococcal infection resulting in sore throat and meningococcal diseases.
Fungi microorganisms develop in mushrooms, yeast, moulds, as they would like to stay in damp and warm places. Many fungi do not pose much threat to human life, like mushrooms and yeast. However, there are some that can cause fungal diseases like athlete’s foot (tinea pedis), ring worm (tinea corporis) and thrush ( candida)
They require a host for growth and reproduction, which must be a living cell and can develop outside the human body. However, when viruses enter the human bodies, they start multiplying themselves and in turn cause diseases like common cold, chicken pox (vericella), measles, gastroenteritis and flu, among others.
They cause water borne diseases, as they require moisture to thrive. These diseases include intestinal infections like diarrhea, stomach upset and nausea. They also can cause diseases like Giardia and cryptosporidium, among others.
Spread of infection
As the infection is spread through a chain, it starts by human body picking up the infection from environment or from an infected person. The spread of this germ can be through the contamination of a surface with infected blood, saliva, urine. The spread of these germs is also possible through airborne tiny particles, fauna and flora. The chain ends with the entry of such germs into another human body through eyes, nose, mouth, breath or genitals.
Common ways of infection spread include leaving droplets into the air or surface, when an infected person sneezes. Such infection can spread through air currents, air conditioner ventilators, as an infected person coughs or breathes. Touching toys, door handles, toilets, bedding, contaminated through the previous contact by an infected person, can cause the spread of such germs.
Several precautions can help in minimizing the spread of infection. For example, in a hospital or medical care environment certain decontamination techniques are helpful. These include washing hands with disinfectant liquids, after touching any contaminated equipment. In addition, mobiles, laptops and other devices also carry the danger of spreading infection. Hence, it is essential to keep them away from the infected area, while decontaminating them, whenever necessary. The mobility aids and furniture must be regularly sprayed with an effective disinfectant. All instruments, which are used for invasive investigation and techniques, need sterilization after every use. In addition, it is important to use only “one-time usable syringes” that must be thrown in garbage after each use. This is particularly important for health care environments of developing countries in Asia and Africa.
As certain infections are passed though urine and human stool, toilets need disinfecting on vigorous and regular basis.
All concerned, particularly the health care paramedical staff, should be well aware of these precautions and their importance in stopping the spread of infection. Accordingly, organizational procedures must include proper training to ground level staff for this purpose.