A Mississippi doctor is working to raise awareness about infectious disease and what people need to do to prevent spreading illnesses. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 99,000 people die nationwide from illnesses associated with infections which translates into an estimated $20 billion in healthcare costs. Dr. Bhagyashri Navalkele is with University of Mississippi Medical Center. She's helps healthcare workers understand how easily infectious diseases spread. Dr. Navalkele says 1 out of every 25 patients will get an infection.
"Everyday a patient has at least 20 to 25 people who are coming in and out of the patients room, which includes healthcare professionals, their families, visitors and any staff who is there taking care of the patient," said Navalkele.
Dr. Navalkele says if anyone of those people doesn't wash their hands the patient could contract an infection. She says hand washing is critical in reducing that risk. Jimmy Epps is the Emergency Medical Services Coordinator with the Jackson Fire Department. They take preventing infections seriously. Epps says their gear serves as protection, but the value of hand washing can't be overstated.
"Most of the germs we come into contact with they have to touch us or we touch them. So, we have to make sure we keep our hands washed and clean also if you have any open wounds or sores, you want to keep those covered," said Epps.
Dr. Navalkele says gassing cars, pushing elevator buttons, opening doors, passing around a cell phone, pushing a grocery cart are all ways infections are spread. She says washing your hands with soap and water can keep you and your family from getting a serious infection. Governor Phil Bryant has declared this International Infection Prevention Week.