The pandemic has made our world with most activities of people coming to a standstill. Amongst the whole pandemic situation, every single citizen across the world was instructed measures to stay safe from the infection. From October 18-24th, we celebrate International Infection Prevention Week. This year provides us with the opportunity to appreciate and acknowledge the healthcare professionals, emergency medical technicians and government officials for providing us protection and the knowledge to be safe.

In 1986, Ronald Reagan, the 40th POTUS of America, proclaimed the third week of October to be International Infection Prevention week (IIPW). This was then carried forward by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

What is Infection Prevention?

Infection prevention is available to us as a scientific approach and a practical solution designed to prevent ourselves from infections caused by patients and healthcare workers.

We are aware of the infection prevention method, such as vaccines. Vaccines are life protecting preventive measures we receive from birth to adulthood. It prevents or even lowers the risk of getting infected with severe diseases. The other infection prevention methods revolve around hygiene and lifestyle. In healthcare centres across the globe, hygiene is of utmost importance to prevent the risk of nosocomial infections. Hence, every catheter to bedsheet is disinfected and sterilized before the next patient uses it.

Infection prevention methods are used in healthcare centres and our households. When we go shopping for detergents, soap, or even floor cleaners, the significant red number of 99.99% on the bottles will never slip our eyes. Our appetite is another crucial factor when it comes to preventing infections. Our parents always made sure we had our daily dose of fruits, nuts, and milk, whether we liked it or not. The forced ingestion of these food products is doing us a favour by increasing our immunities as we enter crowds of various infections.

Although Infection Prevention week is recognized every year, this year, it seems like the year where people globally must celebrate and express their gratitude to all those who are helping us to stay safe from COVID-19. The number of deaths per day and, the persistent struggle to produce a vaccine in time keep us on our toes in preventing ourselves from getting infected.

Healthcare workers everywhere, especially in COVID wards, have been working day and night to help infected patients. They wear special personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent themselves from getting infected. After their shift, they quarantine themselves for a couple of days from their families to keep everyone safe. Doctors have been persistent in sharing experiences, common symptoms, and educating their countries on how to prevent themselves from getting infected.

Police officers and emergency medical technicians have played a vital role to make sure everyone stayed home during the lockdowns, and the sick were treated in time. However, the lockdown was compulsory for everyone. Police officers were out on the streets shooing anyone who stepped out of their houses and, breaking up gatherings on the streets. Emergency technicians were on the run, checking for COVID infected patients and, taking them to the hospitals before it became worse.

As the global pandemic hit almost every country with the same intensity, governments were forced to take swift actions. It started with a national lockdown, where everyone was required to stay at home to avoid community spread. Wearing masks when stepping outside, became a compulsory add on to the world of fashion. Travelers who recently travelled to India were provided accommodation by the Indian government so they could quarantine themselves for a few weeks. Besides, COVID test centres were set up in hospitals or clinics so; people could get tested.

The government then wanted to spread the word on how to prevent oneself from getting infected. That’s when ‘Break the Chain’ posters were put up all through the cities. The signs explained the preventive measures one must take to avoid getting infected.

Break the Chain:

Cleanse your hands frequently for 20-30 seconds with soap and water. Use hand sanitizers when needed.

Protect your nose and mouth with a tissue/ handkerchief while coughing or sneezing.

Social distancing should be followed. Always maintain a safe distance with each other.

Surfaces could be contaminated. Always use tissue/ sanitizers.

Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth. If at all you want to, let it be for cleansing. Avoid physical contacts or gatherings.

Government officials soon made it a point to be transparent of the current situation through media coverage. The case tallies, COVID hotspots, and preventive measures were made clear through the news and social media.

The coronavirus continues to wreak despoliation on the world, and during these times, we must appreciate the role of infection preventions. They will continue sacrificing, working, and educating even after the pandemic to keep our loved ones and us safe. During this time, when there is neither a vaccine nor cure for this virus, let’s lend a helping hand to work together to fight this pandemic.

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