What You Can Do
One very basic thing you can do to protect yourself, your friends, and your family is make sure they all know to wash their hands and make sure anyone else coming into contact with someone who is ill does the same. For some, this means may need to talk to doctors, nurses, or other people treating you to make sure they wash their hands. Sounds basic, but this simple step is frequently overlooked even though it significantly cuts infection rates.
According to the CDC, keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs. It is best to wash your hands with soap and running water for 20 seconds. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers work fast and significantly reduce the number of many types of germs on the skin, but they will not kill all germs.
Take a minute to talk about HAI with your friends and family, visit HAI Watch, and ask your doctors and nurses what they do to prevent infection in their practice. For some stories of people who suffered from HAIs, and some specific advice for patients on how to avoid such infections, see The Human Cost of Healthcare-Associated Infections.