The health professional's role in preventing nosocomial infections
Hazarat-Ali Panari and Sanjay Shinde
Despite their best intentions, health professionals sometimes act as vectors of disease, disseminating new infections among their unsuspecting clients. Attention to simple preventive strategies may significantly reduce disease transmission rates. Frequent hand washing remains the single most important intervention in infection control. However, identifying mechanisms to ensure compliance by health professionals remains a perplexing problem. Gloves, gowns, and masks have a role in preventing infections, but are often used inappropriately, increasing service costs unnecessarily. While virulent microorganisms can be cultured from stethoscopes and white coats, their role in disease transmission remains undefined. There is greater consensus about sterile insertion techniques for intravascular catheters-a common source of infections-and their care. By following a few simple rules identified in this review, health professionals may prevent much unnecessary medical and financial distress to their patients.