Here's how to cut the risk for NDM-1 bacteria

Monday, October 11, 2010; 6:55 PM

To minimize the risk for antibiotic-resistant infections such as the new NDM-1 bacteria:

l Make sure your doctors and nurses clean their hands before they examine you. Proper hand hygiene is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of infection.

l Give medical providers your complete health history, including travel history and details about medication allergies and anything you are taking, such as all prescription and over-the-counter medications, home remedies and dietary supplements. This history will help doctors and pharmacists make more-informed decisions should they need to prescribe antibiotics for you.

l Improper use of antibiotics helps bacteria develop resistance and weakens the ability of antibiotics to fight disease. If you receive a prescription for antibiotics, use all the medication as recommended until it is finished. Never use antibiotics prescribed for someone else, and do not give someone else your medication.

l Pay attention to symptoms that may indicate an infection: unexpected pain, chills or fever, or drainage or increased inflammation of a surgical wound. Contact your doctor immediately

l Wash your hands as often as possible, especially before preparing or eating food, touching your eyes, nose or mouth, before and after changing wound dressings or bandages, after using the restroom, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, and after touching hospital surfaces such as bed rails, bedside tables, doorknobs, remote controls or telephones.

- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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