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Hospitals are not recreation grounds, they’re for the sick



Little do many people know that though, hospitals are places to seek cure and care, they are as well sources of very deadly infections. Yet, there are some that go there for the most ludicrous reasons. That is not to obviate from reasoning that, there are some people that are abnormally anxious about their health and so have a penchant to want to repeatedly visit hospitals. In medical parlance, these people are called hypochondriacs.

A hypochondriac is a person that harbors the fear of having a serious, but undiagnosed medical condition, even when all tests conducted had unconvincingly, shown that they were free of any ailment. It is a mental health disorder that occurs in early adulthood often after such people had witnessed their loved ones go through a debilitating illness, regardless of whether those their loved ones survived the illness or not.

However, rather than these articles being directed at hypochondriacs, it is rather to those that find hospitals as a place that they can routinely visit, even when they are not having any serious medical problems nor they are hypochondriacs. But little do they know that, there are many pathogens lurking around the ambiance of hospitals waiting for them to take back home to initiate an illness in them and their friends and families. These healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are also called nosocomial infections.

Even though, hospital managements, being aware of these HAIs, take great care to prevent and control HAIs, yet, it is estimated that, at any time, more than 1.4 million people globally have HAIs. This is a problem that affects all countries, not minding their level of development. They affect not only patients but also healthcare workers and hospital visitors. It is on record that four to 56 per cent of babies born in health care facilities die in their neonatal period as a result of HAIs.

One may now wonder why HAIs often defy all the best efforts of hospital managers. The reason is that despite the discovery of drugs to treat many ailments, there is now a growing concern of micro-organisms developing resistance to these anti-microbial drugs.

Also, there is also the possibility of some patients, health workers and visitors being the source of transmission of these infections to otherwise healthy visitors to these health-care facilities.

In view of the dangers posed by HAIs, it is pertinent that hospital visitors should cultivate a culture of good hand hygiene. For most HAIs, alcohol-based hand rubs (ABHRs) may be enough to clean their hands, before and after touching any object or person, within the hospital premises, instead of washing hands with soap and water, to kill off most of the pathogens causing HAIs. That is if they understand how to effectively use these ABHRs. This should be in the observance of all the habit of minimising their unsterilized hands making contact with their mouths, eyes and noses, at all times.

Also, the use of facemask should be encouraged by all patients and visitors to hospitals to prevent themselves from infectious droplets or aerosolised pathogens.

`Patients and visitors should also realize that patients coughing should be allowed to see the doctors first, so as to minimize the chance of them polluting the air, by the pathogens released into the air when they cough, sneeze, laugh and even talk, and for them to be isolated far from where they can infect other people.

The idea of bringing babies to the hospitals, unless when they are sick or at the time of immunisation or as required, should be discouraged. All children should also not be taken along to hospitals, by their ailing parents needing to see a doctor because children poorly know how to perform effective hand hygiene and they incautiously use their contaminated hands to eat, pick their noses and rub their eyes, hence the reason why their visits to hospitals should be minimized. These precautions should particularly be observed by people that are immunocompromised like cancer patients, HIV patients, old people, etc.

In so much that this article is to elucidate on the danger of making frivolous visits to hospitals, because of the dangers posed by HAIs.

However, rather than it making patients develop phobias for hospitals; to seek medical assistance, when they need it, the hospital should rather be their first port of call because it remains the best place, for them to get the best solutions to their health problems.

The fact should also be known that pathogens are ubiquitous, they are found everywhere.

So, there is no point to imagine hospitals as places where pathogens are manufactured. But it should be known that hospital visits should never be made to be recreational.

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