Hospital Acquired Pneumonia Can Be Very Contagious 

Hospital acquired pneumonia is perhaps the most dangerous of the forms of this potential killer for one very real reason; it can and does kill us in some cases.

In fact, it has become so dangerous in the last 20 years that in 1997 the CDC, Center for Disease Control, set a broad policy into place.

This policy was set up to insure that hospitals had a very common and stringent set of guidelines that they had to follow and is referenced at the end of this article.

Take a minute to digest some of those facts.

The CDC had to issues guidelines and regulations to help protect the public on what was happening once we walked inside.

When we get sick and go to a hospital or health care facility, the last thing we expect to happen is to get even sicker than we already are.

Hospital Acquired Pneumonia is Also Known By Other Names

This very dangerous condition is also known by several other names and they include the following.

  • Nosocomial pneumonia
  • The Ventilator-associated form
  • The Health Care associated form
  • HCAP

It is this first form, the nosocomial form, is what should really catch our attention.

While any form of this beast is dangerous, this one takes a step above all of the others.

In every case of it, we become affected when are in the hospital, and we are at even more danger once we pass the age of 60.

As we all begin to get older and our body is wearing down in several ways, our lungs are no different.

Hospital acquired pneumonia has one objective; to infect our lungs.

This form is not only a lot more severe, it is a lot more deadly than all of the other forms combined.

What Does Nosocomial Really Mean

At this point, let’s examine exactly what the term “nosocomial” means, as well as what is has become to mean in everyday life.

  • “Nosocomial” comes from two Greek words
  • The first is “nosus” which means disease
  • The second is “komeion” which means to be taken care of
  • What it has become to be known is scary
  • It is now associated with hospital-acquired

Think about that again for a minute.

We go into a hospital because we are sick and need professional help. However, in that setting, we have the possibility of developing Hospital-acquired pneumonia?

How?

Again the reason is very simple but also very scary.

There are several different organisms that are present in any hospital or health care setting, and some of them have become very challenging.

They have become challenging as they have mutated and become resistant to antibiotics, making them very difficult to control.

Older Couple Enjoying Time TogetherOlder Couple Enjoying Time Together

It Also Has One More Very Definitive Meaning

“Nosocomial” also has one more very definitive meaning.

It is an infection that we did not have when we were admitted into the facility, but within 72 hours later, we now have it.

Here are the highest of all the risks groups and number one on this list is us as we get older.

  • Anyone 60 years or older
  • Anyone with a history of smoking and or alcohol abuse
  • Severe wounds of any kind
  • Cancer patients that have a weak immune system
  • Any type of long term lung condition
  • A history of inhaling food or saliva.

Hospital acquired pneumonia has one other very dangerous and troubling aspect about it.

It is the second (2nd) most common “nosocomial” infection in the United States and may be the number one infection in other countries.

It biggest target is infants and our age group, 60 years or older.

The mortality rate is 50% plus, making it extremely dangerous. The infectious agent is referred to as MRSA and is a form of staph infection.

There Are Still More Dangers With Hospital Acquired Pneumonia 

But there is still more; it can and does have several other potential germs that can cause it.

Here are even more challenging aspects about Hospital acquired pneumonia.

  • Most of us that go to the hospital are quite sick
  • Because of this, our immune system is becoming weak
  • There are a lot more germs in a health care setting
  • The germs and bacteria are a lot more dangerous

There is one very other very challenging and difficult aspect with this form; ventilators and respirators.

If we or someone close to us is on either, the risks of developing this form of pneumonia just went up 10 fold.

There are several symptoms that we can watch for and should pay very close attention to.

The Symptoms We Can Watch For

They include the following.

  • A sudden or more intense cough
  • The onset of sputum or an increase in it if you a history of lung issues
  • A sudden fever and chills
  • Shortness of breath and chest pains
  • A drop in blood pressure and heart rate

The first reaction for anyone in a health care setting is that a shortness of breath or chest pains is our heart, but it can very easily be this beast.

However, the telling symptoms of Hospital acquired pneumonia will be coughing, sputum, as well as fevers and chills.

If we have a history of smoking and the coughing and the sputum suddenly increase in severity, there is little doubt you have it.

Do Not Be Afraid To Ask Them To Wash Their Hands

However, there are some things we can do and they include the following.

  • Take preventive steps and ask your nurse or doctor to wash their hands—period
  • This is standard protocol with the CDC directive—but this is our health at risk
  • Ask anyone that visits you to wash their hands
  • If you are sick and visiting someone—stay home
  • If someone visiting you is sick—ask them not to come

We may never be able to totally protect ourselves from Hospital-acquired pneumonia, but we can be aware and take some simple steps.

Anyone in a hospital or health care setting that gets offended if you ask them to wash their hands is the least of our concerns as we get older.

References

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00045365.htm

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The Dangers Of Pneumonia

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