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infection control

In medical care, institutional procedures and policies for monitoring and attempting to control the transmission of communicable diseases. This includes establishing mandatory procedures for sanitation, sterilization, hand hygiene, and isolation. SYN: infection prevention. SEE: table.

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Basic Guidelines for Infection Control
Infection Control Recommendation Summary of Useful Practices
Cleaning and disinfection Disinfect or sterilize surfaces, such as bed rails, computer keyboards, nightstands, phones, and toilets.
Cough etiquette/respiratory courtesy Wear masks; cover mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Maintain three feet distances from others when you have a cold or flu.
Drug formulary restrictions Limit prescribing privileges for antibiotics to designated specialists.
Hand hygiene Use alcohol-based rubs, or wash hands after contact with any blood, body fluids, or potentially contaminated items or patients.
Isolation procedures Follow protocols for isolation of patients who are bleeding, coughing, giving off other excretions, secretions, or potentially hazardous body fluids. Segregate patients during outbreaks of infectious diseases. Separate immune-suppressed patients from others with potentially communicable diseases.
Laundry/linen and food service management Gather patient clothing, eating utensils, gowns, sheets, and towels without contaminating other objects used in patient care. Gown and glove while collecting and washing laundry. Perform hand hygiene after laundry management procedures.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) use Wear gloves, goggles, gowns, masks, and shoe covers while performing patient care procedures whenever exposure to blood, body fluids, aerosols, or splashes are possible. Dispose of PPEs in designated containers.
Resuscitation and invasive airway management Avoid mouth-to-mouth contact with patients; wear personal protective equipment at all times, such as particulate respirators or masks. Disinfect or sterilize endoscopes, intubation equipment, nebulizers, face masks, e.g., for CPAP or supplemental oxygen, or other respiratory care devices.
Sharps (management of needles, wires, etc.) Maintain sharps in open view, to avoid accidental injuries. Never recap or manipulate needles used in patient care. Dispose of sharp objects in punctureproof solid waste containers.
Source control Apply anti-infective rubs or soaps to patients to limit their colonization by disease-causing bacteria
Standard/universal precautions Follow universal precautions during every patient encounter.

PATIENT CARE: Many people recover completely from their infections. Some, however, develop a terminal illness. SEE: tertiary prevention.


(ĭn-fĕk′shŭs) [ME. infecten, infect] 1. Capable of being transmitted with or without contact. 2. Pert. to a disease caused by a microorganism. 3. Producing infection.

infectious disease

ABBR: ID. Any disease caused by growth of pathogenic microorganisms in the body. SEE: incubation for table.


(in-fek′shŭs-nĕs) Infectivity.


(in″fek″tiv′ĭt-ē) 1. The capacity of a pathogen to cause infection. 2. The number of people who are infected by a disease divided by the number of people who are exposed to it. SYN: infectiousness.

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