How Does Infection Enter the Body?

How does infection enter the body?
Infection control is about controlling the spread of communicable diseases between people. Some of the individuals we support will be particularly vulnerable to infection and this means you need to be extra vigilant! In order to spread infection, there needs to be a source, a host, a means of transmission and a point of entry. The source could be a person or the surroundings; the host is the person at risk. Transmission could be through contact with another person, equipment, food and drink or pests. The point of entry could be through breathing, eating, drinking, cuts, wounds or medical procedures like catheters or injections. The five main routes are:

* Contact –
* Direct transmission involves direct body surface-to-body surface contact and physical transfer of microorganisms from an infected or colonised person to a susceptible host. This may occur between patient and carer during patient care that involves direct personal contact, or between any two persons (patients, carers, others) in the health care setting. * Indirect transmission involves the contamination of an inanimate object (such as instruments or dressings) by an infected or colonised person. The contaminated item or environment may then transmit the infection to a susceptible host via contact. * Droplet – Coughing, sneezing and talking can generate droplets. Procedures such as suctioning and bronchoscopy are also a source of droplets. Transmission occurs when an infected or colonised person generates droplets containing microorganisms which are propelled a short distance through the air and deposited on the conjunctivae, nasal mucosa or mouth of a host.

Droplets do not remain suspended in the air; so special air handling and ventilation are not required to prevent droplet transmission. * Airborne – transmission occurs when either airborne droplet nuclei or dust particles disseminate infectious agents. * Common vehicle – Common vehicle transmission applies to micro-organisms transmitted by contaminated items such as food, water, medications, devices and equipment. * Vector borne transmission – Vector-borne transmission occurs when vectors such as insects (mosquitoes, flies) or vermin (rats, mice) transmit microorganisms; Sometimes a microorganism can be transmitted by more than one route. With our clients there are additional points of entry – the stoma sites and it is your responsibility as a HCSW to prevent cross contamination and promote good infection control procedures. The following diagram outlines how following the practices and protocols put in place by the company can help to ensure infection is not introduced by breaking the chain of infection by being conscious of your actions – safeguarding the health of yourself, your clients and others.

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