July 21, 2014
Washing hands is one of the single most effective ways to prevent the spread of dangerous infections — ranging from pneumonia to MRSA, a life-threatening staph infection — in US hospitals. One in 25 patients will battle at least one infection picked up in the hospital, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2011, there were approximately 722,000 of these health care-associated infections nationwide and about 75,000 patients died. Still, hospital workers wash their hands only about 40 to 50 percent of the time, often because it’s inconvenient or they are overwhelmed by other tasks.