5 Takeaways from Kaiser Health News Report on COVID Deaths Among Healthcare Workers

by Erica Mitchell | April 12 2021

Kaiser Health News and The Guardian launched Lost on the Frontline a year ago, an investigation into the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare workers. Part tribute, part wake-up call, this ongoing report represents the largest accounting of healthcare workers who lost their lives to the pandemic, as well as the conditions that led to the lives lost. Until there is an official, federal count, this important report remains the most current source of this tragedy. In today's post, we'll look at the five most important takeaways from this data.

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Our Love/Hate Relationship with Bacteria

by Erica Mitchell | April 12 2021

What is bacteria?

Bacteria are single-cell organisms. Where humans are made up of, on average 1 trillion cells, bacteria are made up of just one. But one isn't the loneliest number when it comes to bacteria; they reproduce very efficiently by splitting into two, who then go on to split into two more… and on until you have a colony of bacteria. Some of these colonies are beneficial to us, some don't harm us at all, and some are downright nasty, leading to harmful infections which can threaten our lives.

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Life Aftrer Your Vaccine: What Can You Do Safely?

by Erica Mitchell | April 4 2021

Ahh, that post-vaccine feeling of relief. That glimpse of the light at the end of a year-long tunnel. The thoughts of plans for travel, visiting loved ones, and even - gasp - eating at a restaurant or going to a concert! So just what can we do safely once we have our vaccines? Today we'll look at how being vaccinated impacts your ability to gather, travel, and seek out entertainment.

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Endogenous vs. Exogenous Infections: It's All About Crowd Control

by Erica Mitchell | April 2 2021

Are all hospital-acquired infections due to contaminated surfaces? It turns out that some infections - even those as the result of a procedure - are not due to contaminated surfaces, devices, or heath care workers. Sometimes a patient becomes infected by germs in their environment, but sometimes the infections stems from microorganisms in or on their own bodies. Today's post will explore both types of infections and the implications for hospital infection control.

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6 Reasons for Vaccine Hesitancy

by Erica Mitchell | March 26 2021

After the hurdle of creating and distributing a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, the next greatest challenge is ensuring that at least 80-85% of the population receives the vaccine. This number, which ensures herd immunity that will stop the spread of the pandemic, seems like an impossible goal when recent surveys show that up to 50% of the population doesn't want to get the vaccine in the first place. In order to help get enough people vaccinated, we have to understand the reasons for vaccine hesitancy and provide information to assuage concerns. Today we will look at 6 of the most common reasons folks are reluctant to get a vaccine for COVID-19.

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LTACHs and Infection Control

by Erica Mitchell | March 24 2021

Long-Term Acute Care Hospitals (LTACHs) are facilities serving only patients with serious medical conditions who need at least 25 days of ICU-level care. They evolved from the TB sanitoriums and other specialized treatment facilities of the past, and have experienced significant growth over the past decade. In today’s post, we’ll explore the purpose of these new medical facilities, as well as the implications for infection control when serving these high-risk populations.

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Nursing Homes and Infection Control: The Most Common Infections

by Erica Mitchell | March 17 2021

Elderly patients needing support for daily activities present unique challenges to the long-term care facilities who care for them. Today's post will conclude our series on nursing home facilities by focusing on the most common infections faced by their residents.

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Nursing Homes and Infection Control: The Most Vulnerable Patients

by Erica Mitchell | March 10 2021

As we age, our bodies go through changes that can make us more susceptible to disease, injury, and infection. Individuals who experience the greatest number of health issues as they age may find that a nursing home or assisted living facility provides the best medical support. Unfortunately, that then places those individuals in a subset of our aging population who are at greatest risk for infection. Today's post will explore how age and infection risk are related.

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Nursing Homes and Infection Control

by Erica Mitchell | March 3 2021

The Wall Street Journal addressed the growing concern over infection control in America's nursing homes, citing research from a recent paper from the Columbia School of Nursing. The article summarizes the four key obstacles to effective infection control in nursing homes: Overuse of antibiotics, inadequate staff/training, lack of resources, and a lack of data/surveillance. In this series of posts, we will explore the nursing home landscape, investigating the origin of and solution to each of those four obstacles. Today we start with an overview of nursing homes.

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Professional Profile: Immunologist Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett

by Erica Mitchell | March 1 2021

In the fight against COVID-19, there are many heroes. From healthcare workers to grocery store cashiers, so many people have worked hard, and taken risks, to keep our lives safe and as normal as possible. Some heroes work behind the scenes, however, and sometimes don't get the recognition they deserve. One of those heroes is Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, an immunologist whose area of expertise made her the perfect person to lead the team that developed the Moderna vaccine. In today's post, we'll profile this exceptional scientist and leader.

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