Do Hospitals Make People Sicker?

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Every year, about 1 in every 25 hospitalized patients will develop an infection while they’re being treated for something else. It’s known in the industry as an HAI, or healthcare-associated infection, and each year 1.7 million patients contract one and nearly 100,000 die as result. In fact, HAIs kill more people each year in the U.S. than automobile accidents, breast cancer and AIDS combined.

HAIs are contracted through a variety of vectors including injection/insertion (catheterization, ventilation, running of central lines, etc) and person-to-person contact. However, some of the most dangerous HAI pathogens are those that are airborne, such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). So called “Superbugs” like MRSA and others pose some of the greatest threats in healthcare facilities as they’re typically unresponsive to antibiotics and other standard treatments.

Although most healthcare facilities make every effort to remain clean and sterile for patients, it’s a challenging task. Foot traffic, opening and closing doors, linens, lab coats and host of other environmental challenges can contribute to a significant number of harmful particulates, moisture and pathogens in the air.

In an attempt to control airborne infectious agents, healthcare facilities typically focus on 4 key areas of attack: dilution (introducing outdoor air and exhausting contaminated air), filtration, pressurization (controlling the flow of air from one area to another) and disinfection.

The CDC and other organizations are working closely with healthcare facilities to reduce the instances of HAIs. At Universal Air Filter, we know we also play a part in keeping patients safe. For example, our Quadrafoam media keeps harmful dust and pathogens from collecting in critical medical equipment and devices. In addition, Quadrafoam contains antimicrobial agents to promote zero mold and fungus growth and is specially formulated to meet stringent industry flame safety standards. In order to improve liquid and fluid repellency, dual-stage filtration options are available to pair a cleanable dust filter with a stainless-steel screen or hydrophobic mesh. Likewise, if the environment requires increased levels of filtration performance, Universal Air Filter can provide mid and high efficiency, pleated media in custom sizes to fit the application.

UAF has serviced the healthcare space for many years, whether it’s protecting essential medical equipment from electromagnetic interference with our EMI shielding solutions or creating custom framed assemblies that match the overall industrial design of diagnostic analyzers, radiological equipment, and other medical devices. Knowing that we play a small role in keeping patients safe is something we take seriously.

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