The increase in hospital infections: a problem getting out of hand

Each year, more than 2.5 million HAIs occur in Europe, and in Italy alone, between 5% and 8% of hospitalized patients contract an infection, resulting in a significant impact on patient health and safety.

The increase in hospital infections: a problem getting out of hand

The emergence of hospital infections

HAIs (healthcare-associated infections, which are the most frequent and serious complication of healthcare) represent a serious threat to public health, with COVID-19 adding further complexities to this already critical landscape. Approximately 80% of all hospital infections involve four main sites: the urinary tract, surgical wounds, the respiratory system, and systemic infections such as sepsis. Although urinary infections are the most common, an increase in bacteremia and pneumonia has been observed in recent years.

The overuse of antibiotics and the widespread use of vascular catheters have contributed to this increase, highlighting the need for effective preventive measures.

Pulmonary infections

Hospital-acquired respiratory tract infections, known as nosocomial infections, pose a significant threat to patients during their hospital stay. These infections, caused by the entry of pathogens into the respiratory tract and lungs, can lead to severe pneumonia. The term “nosocomial” refers to the fact that these infections are acquired during a stay in healthcare facilities following exposure to harmful microorganisms.

Generally, these infections emerge about 48 hours after admission to a hospital, private clinic, emergency room, nursing home, or long-term care facility. The high frequency of such infections often reflects inadequate quality of healthcare provided, with many complications and deaths associated with respiratory infections, necessitating a thorough review of the medical and nursing practices adopted.

Hospital infections are influenced by various factors, including the improper use of antibiotics, compromised patient immune defenses, invasive treatments, surgical interventions, and prolonged hospital stays, along with poor hand hygiene and improper sterilization of medical instruments. These infections can manifest with symptoms such as breathing difficulties, cough, purulent sputum, and signs of chest infection.

Bronchitis and pneumonia are two of the most common lung infections, characterized by similar symptoms including persistent cough, excessive mucus production, and fever. Patients with compromised immune defenses, such as the elderly or those in intensive care, are particularly vulnerable to such infections, with various bacteria responsible, including streptococci, staphylococci, and pneumococci.

To prevent these infections, it is essential to strictly adhere to hygiene standards and use sterilized medical devices. Patients in intensive care are particularly at risk and require careful monitoring to avoid infection. Breathing exercises and deep coughing can help keep the lungs open and strengthen respiratory muscles, thus reducing the risk of pulmonary infections during hospitalization.

UV-C technology: a highly effective solution

Today, systems are available that offer a range of advantages beyond simple environmental sanitization. Firstly, UV-C technology becomes more effective in combating a wide array of pathogens, not only viruses and bacteria but also molds and other microorganisms harmful to human health. This not only ensures a safer environment for occupants but also helps reduce the spread of infectious diseases.

Additionally, the ability of these systems to constantly monitor the level of sanitization and ozone production represents a significant advantage in terms of safety and control. Operators can be confident that the environment is effectively sanitized and that there are no health risks from exposure to excessive ozone levels or incomplete sanitization.

Their flexibility makes them perfect for the healthcare context. Finally, the confirmation of the effectiveness of UV-C technology against the Covid-19 virus through specific tests is a fundamental reassurance for users, ensuring that the systems are capable of addressing even the most recent and urgent public health threats.

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