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Who is at risk for an infection in the hospital?

Whether your visit to the hospital is planned or an emergency, it can be an overwhelming experience as you consider the risks associated with resolving your condition. In addition to doctor errors, there is also the possibility of getting an infection while you are in the hospital.

You may already know that any time you go into the hospital, you are at a higher risk for infection. The combination of a weakened immune system, increased contact with other ill people and open wounds from medical procedures, there are many opportunities for an infection to take hold while you are trying to get better.

If you are in one of these categories, you may be at a higher risk for getting an infection during your hospital stay.

Both extremes are at higher risk

Babies and the elderly are both at a higher risk for getting an infection while in the hospital. Unfortunately for babies, youth is not on their side. Since they have not had an opportunity to build their immune system through exposure, their small bodies have difficulty fighting off infections.

While the elderly may have the advantage of time and exposure to infections over their lifetime, elderly people are also at a higher risk for infection. As people age, the immune system breaks down, making a hospital stay riskier for older patients.

Most common infections and their effects

As expected, any open wound brings an opportunity for infection, however, surgical sites are second when it comes to the most common infections. About 32 percent of infections acquired while in a medical facility are urinary tract infections. Other infections include:

  • Surgical site infections
  • Lung infections (pneumonia)
  • Bloodstream infections

Getting an infection in the hospital is more than inconvenient. An infection will increase the length of your hospital stay and the chances of being readmitted after you are discharged.

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