LIVING WITH IT WORKING WITH IT TREATING IT
Even though you’re staying in the hospital to get better, it’s possible to get an infection while you’re there. If you’re staying in the hospital for an injury or an illness, you may be at risk for getting a fungal infection, especially if you’re very sick or have a weak immune system. These types of infections are calledhealthcare-associated infections (HAIs).
Hospital staff and healthcare providers do everything they can to prevent HAIs, but some procedures and situations can increase your risk for fungal HAIs. The information provided below can help you understand your risk and help you be a safe patient while hospitalized.
Fungal infections can range from mild to life-threatening. Some fungal infections are mild skin rashes, but others can be deadly, like fungal pneumonia. Because of this, it’s important to get treatment as soon as possible to try to avoid serious infection.
Life-saving devices like central venous catheters (a special kind of IV tube) can increase your risk for fungal infection. During your hospital stay you may need a central venous catheter, which is a tube placed into a vein to give medications or liquids. This can make it easier for fungi to enter your body and increase your chances of getting a fungal bloodstream infection such as candidemia.1, 2
Disease-causing fungi can enter your body through cuts, wounds, and burns. Fungi naturally live on your skin and on healthcare workers’ hands. These fungi can enter your body through cuts and wounds and cause infection during a hospital stay, especially if your wounds are severe.3
Staying in the intensive care unit (ICU). If you’re in the ICU because you’re critically ill or injured, you’re likely to need life-saving devices or procedures that can put you at risk for fungal infections, particularly Candida and Aspergillus infections.4
Surgery can lead to infection. If you’ve had surgery, it’s possible to get a fungal infection in in the part of the body where the surgery took place. Surgical site infections are often caused by bacteria, but can also be caused by fungi.
Hospital construction. Hospital staff do everything they can to prevent fungal infections. Despite this, outbreaks of aspergillosis have happened among very sick patients staying at hospitals where there is ongoing construction or renovation.5 This is thought to be because construction stirs up the amount of fungal spores in the air.
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