A Brief Note on Infection prevention and control
Infection prevention and control (IPC) is a scientific approach and practical solution designed to prevent harm caused by infection to patients and health workers. It is grounded in infectious diseases, epidemiology, social science and health system strengthening. IPC occupies a unique position in the field of patient safety and quality universal health coverage since it is relevant to health workers and patients at every single health-care encounter.
Infection control addresses factors related to the spread of infections within the healthcare setting, whether among patients, from patients to staff, from staff to patients, or among staff. This includes preventive measures such as hand washing, cleaning, disinfecting, sterilizing, and vaccinating. Other aspects include surveillance, monitoring, and investigating and managing suspected outbreaks of infection within a healthcare setting.
Infection prevention and control is the discipline concerned with preventing healthcare-associated infections; a practical rather than academic sub-discipline of epidemiology. In Northern Europe, infection prevention and control is expanded from healthcare into a component in public health, known as "infection protection". It is an essential part of the infrastructure of health care. Infection control and hospital epidemiology are akin to public health practice, practiced within the confines of a particular health-care delivery system rather than directed at society as a whole.
Aseptic technique is a key component of all invasive medical procedures. Similar control measures are also recommended in any healthcare setting to prevent the spread of infection generally.
Hand hygiene is one of the basic, yet most important steps in IPC (Infection Prevention and Control).Hand hygiene reduces the chances of HAI (Healthcare Associated Infections) drastically at a floor-low cost. Hand hygiene consists of either hand wash (water based) or hand rubs (alcohol based).
The field of infection prevention describes a hierarchy of removal of microorganisms from surfaces including medical equipment and instruments. Cleaning is the lowest level, accomplishing substantial removal. Disinfection involves the removal of all pathogens other than bacterial spores. Sterilization is defined as the removal or destruction of ALL microorganisms including bacterial spores.
Cleaning is the first and simplest step in preventing the spread of infection via surfaces and fomites. Cleaning reduces microbial burden by chemical deadsorption of organisms (loosening bioburden/organisms from surfaces via cleaning chemicals), simple mechanical removal (rinsing, wiping), as well as disinfection (killing of organisms by cleaning chemicals).
Disinfection uses liquid chemicals on surfaces and at room temperature to kill disease causing microorganisms. Ultraviolet light has also been used to disinfect the rooms of patients infected with Clostridium difficile after discharge. Disinfection is less effective than sterilization because it does not kill bacterial endospores.
Sterilization is a process intended to kill all microorganisms and is the highest level of microbial kill that is possible. Sterilization, if performed properly, is an effective way of preventing Infections from spreading. It should be used for the cleaning of medical instruments and any type of medical item that comes into contact with the blood stream and sterile tissues.
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