The Isolator Gets Tough on Germs

Hello! My name is the Isolator.

As the Protector previously noted in our Infection Prevention Week posts, the success of keeping healthy lies in consistently practicing daily habits such as washing our hands frequently and covering our mouths when we cough.

As the Isolator, I help the other Infection Prevention League team members by being a voice of reason and helping them spread the word about the many types of precautions we can take to steady the fight against the spread of the germs that threaten our health.

And well…one the surefire ways to stop the spread of infections is to contain or isolate the germs from others!

In the community, this means staying home when feeling sick. But in a hospital setting this also means using isolation precautions. Isolation of germs is what I am all about.

I make it my business each and every day to isolate the germs that make their way into the hospital. Tucson Medical Center uses the CDC recommended precautions to protect all who enter our doors. There are four different types of precautions aimed at the different ways that germs travel.

These precautions are:

Contact Precautions 

  • Examples of germs included are drug resistant organisms like MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staph aureus) and VRE (Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus).

The way to protect against these pesky germs is with lots of hand washing and keeping the hospital environment clean because these germs are spread by being carried from person to person on dirty hands or equipment. Additional precautions involve wearing gowns and gloves when in a patient room to further reduce the possibility of transmitting these germs.

G-Contact Precautions

  • Example of a germ included this group is C diff (C diffficile).
  • Protection against C diff also involves lots of hand washing and cleaning; however, bleach is used to clean because C diff spores may not be killed by some disinfectants and alcohol based sanitizers! Hand washing with soap and water is more effective against this germ.

Droplet Precautions

  • Pertussis and the Flu are examples of germs that are spread in airborne droplets that we produce when we cough or sneeze.
  • To prevent and contain these germs involves the use of masks to prevent nose and mouth exposure to germs, and of course…hand washing and cleaning!  Gown and gloves may also be used.

Airborne Precautions

  • Example of germs included:  Measles, Chicken Pox and TB
  • Involves use of a special mask because these germs are very small and light and can remain floating in the air after coughing or sneezing.  Hand washing and cleaning are always important in stopping infection!

You can feel confident that when you visit TMC for care or in support of friends or family receiving care the best in practice of infection prevention habits and precautions are being exercised to keep our community healthy.

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Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461
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