Catching Other Sicknesses: How Risky Is a Visit to the Emergency Room?

Catching Other Sicknesses: How Risky Is a Visit to the Emergency Room?

Will you contract the flu, a cold or strep throat?

You hurt your arm fixing the roof, or maybe your blood pressure is skyrocketing after dinner. Somehow your health is somewhat on the line and a visit to the local emergency room seems to be in order.

But suddenly you’re afraid you might catch something even worse just while sitting there, waiting for your turn.

Are your fears reasonable?

Yes and no. A post on Lifehacker says that you’re more likely to fall sick, (with something new), as a patient in the hospital. A resident nurse and educator at Comanche County Memorial Hospital in Oklahoma says that when you visit the emergency room, you’re pretty safe.

You’re more at risk of catching something like the flu when you go about daily activities, like grocery shopping.

Related: Reminder: Why You Need to Get Your Flu Shot

As a patient that’s admitted to the hospital however, you become at risk of developing a “healthcare-associated infection” (HAI).

This risk is high enough that International Infection Prevention Week takes place in the third week of October every year.

The goal is to raise awareness and improve patient safety by encouraging healthcare professionals and others to follow safety protocols like consistent hand washing, wearing gloves and gowns, and wearing respiratory masks when applicable.

So, if you think you might have broken your arm, get treatment. It’s unlikely you’ll catch an infection-just remember to wash your hands.

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