LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - With flu season just a few months away Comanche County Memorial Hospital is encouraging good hand hygiene not only for staff but for visitors too to help ensure that their patients don't get a hospital stay infection. The hospital's Infection Preventionist, Meagan Garibay, says washing your hands is the number one way you can prevent infections or illness.
"During the course of the day, you touch so many objects. You touch door knobs, railings, handles, all kinds of things and a lot of those things carry germs from other people," said Garibay.
Which is why they put a hand hygiene station when you first walk into the hospital.
"When you wash your hands, you're actually protecting yourself because we actually touch our face and our eyes and our mouth and those are all ways that germs can get into our body," said Garibay.
Besides the station that's equipped with hand sanitizer, tissues, and face masks at the front door, they also have hand washing stations in every room and strategically placed throughout the hospital to proactively prevent the spread of germs between patients and their visitors. Meagan Garibay says they did this for two reasons.
"Number one it protects them from any germs that they may encounter while they're in the hospital, and it also protects other people in the hospital in they're coming into visit a loved one, a friend, someone like that... They can actually protect that patient by not bringing in germs from the outside to that patient who already be compromised immune system immune system wise," said Garibay.
They also recommend that you wash your hands or use sanitizer each time you exit a room and visit a patient.
Health officials say since most patients' immune systems are compromised they can easily catch something else if doctors, nurses, and visitors aren't cautious. Which is why CCMH also has hand hygiene guidelines for their healthcare professionals. They require healthcare professionals who are going room to room to wash their hands before leaving one room and as soon as they come into the next patients room.
"That way, they are not transferring germs back and forwards between patient to patient. Really, that patient that they just saw has their own set of germs, that healthcare worker has their own set of germs so they are bringing that all into a room with the patient that they are going to see," said Garibay.
To hold doctors and nurses accountable to make sure they are washing their hands like they're supposed to, they're asking that patients and visitors watch them wash their hands when they come in and exit a room to help keep germs from spreading from patient to patient.