The Culture Club: Diagnosing HAIs

by Erica Mitchell | November 17 2017

How do healthcare providers arrive at an HAI diagnosis? A CDC-mandated timing protocol determines whether a patient's infection is healthcare-associated or not. However, it is through a combination of clinical findings, diagnostic testing, and response to treatment that a medical team will determine the presence of an infection in the first place. Today's post will provide a very general overview of the steps a medical team may take in order to diagnose an HAI.

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Honoring Our Veterans With Quality Health Care

by Erica Mitchell | November 8 2017

This Saturday is Veteran’s Day, a day to celebrate the dedication and sacrifice of those Americans who served our country as a member of our armed services. One of the best ways to honor our veterans is by ensuring that their return to civilian life is healthy and successful. A significant part of that healthy transition is the benefits available through the Veterans Health Administration, or VA, both through compensation and health care services. Today we will explore the history and future of this health services provider, and well as some of the challenges and achievements it has faced over time.

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10 NEW Infection Prevention Tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics

by Erica Mitchell | November 3 2017

Just last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics released its updated guidelines for infection prevention in pediatric ambulatory settings - that is, at your child's doctor's office. We combed through the guidelines to find ten tips new in this edition that you can use right away, or keep in mind for this upcoming sniffle season.

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Books about Bacteria: Recent Releases for Every Reader

by Erica Mitchell | October 27 2017

Just as National Book Month concludes, we will take a moment to share some exciting new books about one of our favorite topics: Bacteria! These selections are new this year and suitable for reading beside a roaring fire or giving as a gift to your favorite microbiologist (or science nerd). Any way you choose, these books are accessible without eliminating the science, so everyone will learn something new.

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International Infection Prevention Week 2017: Antibiotic Resistance

by Erica Mitchell | October 18 2017

This year's International Infection Prevention Week theme is antibiotic resistance. With the rise of superbugs and hard-to-treat pathogens, it's no wonder the Association of Professionals in Infection Control (APIC) has selected this theme.

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Wildfires and Infection

by Erica Mitchell | October 13 2017

Over the past week, firefighters have been working to control massive fires throughout northern California. These are lethal fires, claiming the lives of 33 individuals to date, consuming entire neighborhoods as they grow and spread. All of us have seen the images of destruction, and the headlines capture the urgency of the response teams as they fight to control this powerful force of nature. Those of us in infection control may see in these fires similar traits with an opportunistic pathogen, spreading quickly through a patient's body and leaving destruction in its wake. It turns out this comparison is as old as the science of infection control itself, tracing back to a word coined in the 1800s: Fomites.

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IDWeek 2017 is in San Diego - And So is Hepatitis A

by Erica Mitchell | October 10 2017

Each year, the major associations in the field of infectious diseases and epidemiology come together for IDWeek. This year’s event, going on now, happens to be in San Diego, CA, which itself is going through the biggest outbreak of Hepatitis A in decades. We’ll take this congruence of events to highlight the role the professionals taking part in this conference play in working together to handle outbreaks all over the world.

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Anti-this, Anti-that: 4 Terms You Need to Know

by Erica Mitchell | October 1 2017

The infection control landscape is difficult to navigate without an understanding of the key terms used by experts in the field. Some of these terms have found their way into every-day language, but often without the technical  nuances that can make a big difference in a health care setting. This post will hopefully help demystify the terminology of infection control, starting with four "anti" terms.

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Flu Vaccine Vocabulary You Need to Know

by Erica Mitchell | September 22 2017

Over the past decade, the general public has come to hear more terminology about vaccines than ever before. Thanks in part to the growth of anti-vaccination groups and resulting media coverage, your average person has been exposed to terms such as "live attenuated ," "quadrivalent" and "recombinant." While the medical field is unanimous in its support for vaccines for those individuals healthy enough to have them, the confusion surrounding these terms can still remain an obstacle for some. Today's post aims at demystifying these terms in the hopes that knowledge will lead to an informed decision (and more flu shots).

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Hurricane Epidemiology: The Dangers After The Storm Passes

by Erica Mitchell | September 14 2017

These past two weeks have seen two record-breaking hurricanes barrel into the United States and its territories. Hurricane Harvey, which brought torrential rainfall and flooding (27 trillion gallons of water!), brought the city of Houston to a stand-still. Right on Harvey's tail, Irma battered islands in the Caribbean and kept southern Floridians guessing as to where it would make landfall, ultimately striking the Keys and the Gulf Coast. As with all hurricanes of this magnitude, the dangers to life and limb are not limited to the duration of the actual storm- the weeks that follow bring a whole new set of dangerous conditions. Today's post will explore the dangers that involve infectious disease and the overall access to medical care.

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