The World Health Organization (WHO) is principally the primary agency involved in setting guidelines about infection control and prevention. Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States is likewise a major influence to other nations’ health sectors pattern their respective guidelines for safeguarding the health of the public through the universally accepted guidelines and principles set by both the WHO and CDC in controlling and preventing disease prevention.
The impact of infectious diseases has changed through time and various infection control and prevention principles in the past become obsolete and impractical due to the emergence various new mutated forms of microorganisms that become very resistant to conventional infection control practices. In addition, the changes in human behavior pattern as well as the various shifts in therapeutic options change over time which conventional infection prevention practices are rendered ineffective.
Infection Control and Prevention in the Hospital
Isolation precautions and guidelines are constantly modified in order to further bolster infection control and prevention in hospitals and similar health facilities. The health institution’s Infection Control Practices Committee are primarily tasked with creating and enforcing guidelines based on the principles in effective infection control set forth by the WHO and CDC. Most health care institutions in developed countries follow the two-tier isolation precaution. The first tier is called the Standard Precaution which is basically mandatory in caring for all types of patients in the hospital and is the primary strategy in preventing hospital acquired infections. The second tier in isolation precaution is Transmission Based Precaution which is strictly designed with the care for patients with known or suspected infectious diseases that can be transmitted via airborne, droplet or contact.
Infection Control and Prevention in the Community
The state and local public health departments in collaboration with the local government unit in a community share the responsibility in infection control and prevention in their respective communities. Methods of infection prevention include proper and updated techniques in sanitation practices (water purification, disposal of sewage and other potentially infectious materials), strict regulation and enforcement health practices (the handling, storage, packaging and preparation of food by duly licensed food manufacturing industries) and active immunization programs by the state and local government. In various developed countries, immunization programs markedly decreased the incidence of infectious disease from spreading and affecting people.
Home based Infection Control and Prevention
Establishing reasonable barriers to infection transmission in the household is an integral part of home based care especially if an individual member of the household in affected with contagious disease. Health care providers, usually private nurses and trained caregivers should not only follow the set guidelines in standard and transmission based precautionary measures, but more importantly should teach members in the household simple strategies in reducing their risk of acquiring infection from their sick family member. Proper health teaching should be enforced to other members of the household on how to break the cycle of infection through proper hand washing, maintaining proper hygiene and simple barrier methods such as using face masks and gloves which are simple but effective infection control and prevention techniques.