By any measure, this year’s flu season is a bad one. It’s on track to put over 700,000 Americans in the hospital and cause over 55,000 deaths, per the CDC. The percentage of people seeing their doctor for influenza-like illnesses hit 7.7%, the highest recorded since 2009 (the national baseline is 2.2%), also per the CDC.
Besides getting a flu shot, the best thing you can do to prevent catching – and spreading – the flu is wash your hands regularly. This applies, of course, to ordinary people going about their daily life. It also applies to clinicians in healthcare settings, as well as patients and visitors.
Hand hygiene in hospitals is important under ordinary circumstances in order to prevent healthcare-associated infections such as C. diff, MRSA, CAUTI, CLABSI, SSI and more. This year, especially, hand hygiene is critical to avoid spreading the influenza virus from patient to patient.
Or as one ER nurse in Florida put it, “Wash your stinking hands” to avoid this “cesspool of funky flu!”
If you’d like to explore how our system typically doubles hand hygiene performance rates, here’s a brief video about how it works. Or here’s a white paper on How the New Joint Commission Hand Hygiene Standards Could Impact Your Hospital.