There’s a Fungus Among Us! How Can You Be Proactive?

Hospitals

By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder

If you’re a germophobe, you probably go on high germ alert and chronically wash your hands when you have to be in a hospital. Although hospitals are here to make us healthier, they are inevitably high breeding grounds for germs due to the many people (both sick and healthy) coming in and out the doors.

It’s scary, but sometimes people can get sicker when they are admitted to a hospital. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “[h]undreds of millions of patients are affected by health care-associated infections worldwide each year, leading to significant mortality and financial losses for health systems.”

WHO also reports that out of every 100 hospitalized patients at any given time, 7 in developed and 10 in developing countries will acquire at least one “health care-associated infection.”

Sometimes exam gloves can put you at risk for hospital-acquired infections, but there can also be outbreaks of bacteria or fungus that can put patients, hospital visitors and doctors at risk of infections.

This past week, a fungus called candida auris was found in some U.S. hospitals.

USA Today reports more than 60 cases of candida auris have been found in hospitals mostly in New York and New Jersey. The fungus can enter a person’s blood stream, spread throughout the body and cause different kinds of infections.

Candida auris can be spread through people or the environment. For example, it can be passed through hospital equipment or surfaces such as counter tops. It is also hard to spot and kill.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says candida auris was initially seen in Japan in 2009, but the earliest strain of this fungus actually dates back to 1996 in South Korea.

Last year, four deaths were linked to candida auris in hospitals, however, no one can definitively say the fungus caused the death of these patients due to their already fragile health conditions at the time.

Patients in intensive care or who have a catheter placed in a large vein are especially at risk.

So far, these recent cases have been treatable despite the fact that this fungus has been found in other countries and has been resistant to three classes of antifungal medicine. The CDC says this type of multidrug resistance has not been seen before in other species of candida.

The good news is so far these recent cases have not caused any deaths, and the infection is still considered to be a rare occurrence.

How can we be proactive and prevent hospital acquired infections?

  • Maintain good hand and body hygiene
  • Do not share personal items such as towels
  • Keep cuts, scrapes and wounds clean and covered
  • The most germ infested piece of hospital equipment is possibly the stethoscope. Make sure your nurse or doctor cleans it before it is used on you.
  • Take affirmative steps to improve your immune system by getting the right nutrition and supporting a healthy liver.  Read here for more information on how to improve your immune system.

To learn about how minerals can boost your immunity, check out Minerals - The Forgotten Nutrient: Your Secret Weapon for Getting and Staying Healthy.

Enjoy your healthy life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, health care attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. To learn more about the pH Health Care Team, click here.  

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