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What causes Pseudomonas infections in hospital patients?

Hospitals are usually viewed as safe places for the sick and injured to recover. In reality, however, these health care facilities sometimes place their patients in even greater harm. Infections, doctor errors and misdiagnoses can all lead to the exacerbation of existing health problems. In worst case scenarios, these hospital errors may even lead to a patient’s death.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospital patients are at a high risk for Pseudomonas infections. Exposure to Pseudomonas bacteria may lead to blood infections, pneumonia and complications following a surgery. Such infections are often serious and may become life-threatening, especially in hospital settings.  

Further complicating the problem is the fact that, like many other types of hospital bacteria, Pseudomonas is becoming resistant to antibiotic treatments. This means that treatment for these infections involves the careful selection of the appropriate antibiotic.

Pseudomonas exposure is dangerous for a number of people, especially those with:

  • Weakened immune systems
  • Breathing machines
  • Catheters
  • Surgery wounds
  • Burns

Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the bacteria that causes these infections, is common in the environment. However, infections in hospitals are often the result of contaminations spread through equipment or on health care workers’ hands. As such, the CDC notes that the rate of Pseudomonas infections can be lowered through the creation and implementation of contamination control policies. These policies should focus on regular hand and equipment cleanings. If such infection control practices are strictly adhered to, patients’ risks of developing a life-threatening infection may be reduced.

It should be noted that hospital patients are not the only ones who can develop Pseudomonas infections. The bacteria can also cause mild illness, such as ear infections, skin rashes and eye infections in those who visit hospital environments.  

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