If you're scheduled to have a surgical procedure over the next few weeks, you may be busily making arrangements for transportation and meals during your recuperation, as well as getting plans in place to have your workload covered while you're out of the office.
Unfortunately, even the best-planned recoveries can go awry when you're exposed to antibiotic-resistant (or "pan-resistant") bacteria during your surgery or hospital stay that leaves you fighting infection for weeks—or even months—to come. While hospital staff are trained to do everything they can to prevent post-surgical infections, it's good to understand the situation. Read on to learn more about the factors that have driven up the incidence of antibiotic resistance, as well as what you can do to minimize your odds of contracting one of these "super bugs" during your surgical procedure.
Who is at risk of contracting an antibiotic-resistant infection?
Although the immunocompromised—like babies, the elderly, and those suffering from conditions like HIV, leukemia, or lupus—are most at risk of becoming ill after exposure to bacteria or a virus, antibiotic resistance can strike just about anyone at any time. This is true even if you don't use many antibiotics yourself; unfortunately, simply coming into contact with a virus or bacterium that has developed antibiotic resistance after long-term exposure on another patient may be enough to cause you to fall ill.
Because no one is immune from an antibiotic-resistant infection, it's crucial to do all you can to prepare and protect yourself prior to your hospital stay. Even if you're otherwise healthy and your surgery is an elective one, a single moment of exposure could be the open door this bacteria needs to begin colonizing your body and compromising your recovery and long-term health.
How can you prevent yourself from contracting a "super bug" during surgery?
Although there are no guarantees that you won't still come into contact with some pathogens during your stay, by being prepared and knowing what to expect (and avoid), you should be able to breathe a bit more easily.
You may first want to inquire into your hospital's operating room sterilization procedures. While hospitals are required to sterilize the surgical tools and other devices used during surgery, the exact equipment and procedures can vary from hospital to hospital. Most hospitals are likely to have a zero tolerance policy on issues like re-using a single-use medication or disposable medical equipment (like catheters), terminating any staff member who takes one of these time-saving shortcuts, but some hospitals may be more lax when it comes to the enforcement of regulations like these.
Some facilities have a much higher rate of patient infection than others, and much of this difference can lie in the preparatory and operating room processes, even those that may seem inconsequential. For example, studies have shown that shaving the surgical area with a razor rather than using clippers or depilatories can lead to a much higher risk of post-surgical infection, even if the razor has been properly sterilized prior to use. Hospitals that pay attention to changes in protocol designed to prevent post-surgical infections—and adapt their processes accordingly—are much less likely to find themselves dealing with patient complaints.
Doing a bit of research into the protocol that can diminish the risk of infection and asking some questions before your procedure can go a long way toward informing you and easing your mind. If you're dissatisfied with the answers you receive from your hospital or feel as though there are any other red flags during this process, it may be worthwhile to investigate your other options, whether this means having this surgery at a freestanding surgical center or a different hospital.
I used to be skeptical about chiropractic healing. However, that was before I tried it for myself. I was in an accident that did serious damage to my back. I followed all of the doctor’s recommendations, did my physical therapy, and still didn’t feel any better. That was when I finally decided to try going to my friend’s chiropractor. It was such a relief when I finally started to feel better thanks to the great chiropractic care I received. That’s when I decided to start researching chiropractic care and how it could be used to treat different conditions. This blog contains the results of that research. If you’re looking for a way to feel better, you too may benefit from chiropractic healing. These articles will help you learn how.