A Methodist Hospital family physician and infection preventionist offer
tips on how to break the chain of infection.
The old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,”
is never truer than now as we approach flu season.
John Lee, D.O., Methodist Family Medicine - Atkinson, encourages his patients
to stay up to date on vaccines, including the flu shot. “Vaccinations
protect us from serious illness and complications of vaccine preventable
diseases. Everyone six months of age and older should get a flu vaccine
every season. While it can cause mild to severe illness, it can sometimes
be fatal, especially in those with multiple medical conditions.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), rates
of serious illness and death are highest among the very young (under 2
years of age), the elderly (adults age 65 and over), pregnant women and
those with compromised immune systems and/or chronic medical conditions.
“These might include asthma, heart disease, diabetes, renal disease,
cancer and those who have invasive medical devices,” Dr. Lee added.
He also offered tips on how to stay well during flu season. “Cover
your cough and sneezes, which can spread flu and other viruses, and stay
home when you are sick,” he said. “It’s important to
clean and disinfect your environment, too.”
“Everyone knows that germs in our environments can cause illnesses
and diseases,” said Michele Daum, BSN, Infection Preventionist at
Methodist Hospital. “However, we can prevent them from infecting
more people by working together to break the chain of infection.”
Daum noted there are multiple points at which the chain can be broken and
a germ can be stopped from infecting another person.
The number one way to keep germs from spreading is hand hygiene. “Keeping
your hands clean through hand washing or using an alcohol based hand sanitizer
is the number one way to prevent the spread of infection,” she said.
“Germs live in multiple places in the environment, including on people,
animals, insects and common surfaces, and in soil and water,” Daum
continued. “Germs are transferred or passed on from these environments
through direct or indirect contact. Direct contact may occur through inhalation,
such as when an individual coughs or sneezes. Indirect contact may occur
when an individual has an open wound and touches a contaminated surface.”
Methodist Hospital recently celebrated International Infection Prevention
Week, established in 1986 as an annual effort to highlight the importance
of infection prevention. “Although it is a week-long focus, infection
prevention is important 365 days a year,” Daum stressed. “As
Infection Preventionists, we strive to keep healthcare environments, patients,
visitors, employees, volunteers and our communities safe.
“Everyone has a role in preventing the spread of infections. We must
remember to be smart – always practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated,
encourage others to do the same and utilize antibiotics wisely.”
For questions regarding this press release, please contact Brandi L. Schwartz
at 270-831-7836 or