How do Hospitals, Doctor’s offices, and Medical Centers not become massive centers for plague and disease?


I’ve never really understood how these places, which naturally bring in the sick and unwell by the thousands every single day, eliminate all or any airborne pathogens, viruses that spread via contact with surfaces, or by a patient coughing or sneezing. It’s not like they lock down the whole facility and sanitize it top to bottom every time a new patient comes in, so how come these places don’t become massive hubs for the spread of disease? How are waiting rooms not considered one of the most dangerous places for transmission in the world? What steps are these doctors and professionals in the field taking to ensure that these people who are coming in sick, aren’t making everyone else in the building sick as well?

In: 378

To a degree, they are. BUT, hospitals are aware of this and go to great lengths to mitigate the risks – they use UV lights, push masks on anyone who coughs, stock the bathrooms with antibacterial soap, replace high traffic surfaces with antimicrobial materials. A hospital isn’t just another building with sick people in it, It’s a building designed to be hostile to communicable pathogens.

But, it happens, especially in immumocompromised individuals. MRSA is a common strain that often infests hospitals. It’s a battle.

They are compared to other public areas. That being said they are also full of large aired out spaces; lots and lots of bleach and cleaning, masks, alcohol gel, soap, meds etc.

You’re deffo more likely to pick something up in a hospital than a football stadium but comparatively hospitals are very clean

Nosocomial or hospital acquired infections happen all the time despite even though hospitals take precautions to make sure that the environment is clean, and the providers sanitize their hands before entering patient rooms.

There are two big factors that keep them from being the catastrophy you describe. First is isolation precautions: anyone with a particularly contagious illness is isolated to their room, and healthcare providers are required to wear special PPE (personal protective equipment) when entering the room for patient care. Second, you have medical staff monitoring the patient 24/7, so if they do get a nosocomial infection, it can be caught quickly and treated early.

Housekeeping is incredibly important in a hospital. Staff are constantly wiping things down to sanitize them. Many of the surfaces in a hospital are also designed to be easy to clean and to not harbor bacteria.

**Mitigation**: the less time people are in hospitals the better. Therefore, Hospital visits and admissions are shorter than in the oast. This isn’t just a profit motive, it also reduces the chance of hospital acquired infection. Also, heavy education campaigning in the media stems people flocking to hospitals wondering if they have the plague. And, by Encouraging people to use virtual visits, doctor offices, urgent or express care facilities for non-emergent care, you have less chance of spreading diseases.

**Isolation**: Using PPE, HEPA filtration, single occupant rooms when possible, negative air pressure rooms when necessary and visitor restrictions.

**Sanitation**: They use bleach, quaternary disinfectants, heat and UV light to sterilize surfaces, machines and tools.

**Segregation**: Not every hospital treats every kind of inpatient; not every floor/wing in a hospital treats every kind of patient. New or remodeled ER facilities are being built to be more spacious and less constrictive. In some facilities patients are grouped by symptoms (cough/fever vs not).

Remember that for every team of Nurses, Doctors, Allied Health, and Specialists, there is also a team of hard-working cleaning and custodial staff making sure that contaminated rubbish is cleared away, floors are mopped with disinfectants, hand rails are cleaned multiple times a day, and soft surfaces like curtains are changed.

Everyone in the building is trained to minimise the risk of illness transmission and then make that job as easy as possible for the next person.

We also regularly review and update infection control policies and hire in specialist health professionals who exist entirely to make sure that policy is following the best available evidence.