Chain of infection and best 5 tips to help prevent infection

chain of infection: The new edition -6th- of the Mosby Manual of basic nursing care changes its title to better represent its content and provides current information for teaching and learning about safe and effective care, adapted to healthcare. Each chapter is nourished with boxes that accompany the text, icons in epigraphs that warn of associated procedure boxes, and, conversely, icons in procedure boxes that warn of associated content in the text. Also, all chapters begin with a series of objectives, keywords, and key abbreviations. Today we share a small sample of it: the prevention of infection.

chain of infection
chain of infection

What is an infection?

Infection is a disease state resulting from the invasion and growth of microbes in the body. Infection is a major threat to health and safety. Minor infections resolve in a short period of time. Some infections are serious and can cause death. The elderly and disabled are personal at risk. The healthcare team must follow certain practices and procedures that prevent the spread of infection (infection control The objective is to protect patients, residents, visitors, and staff from infection. This chapter describes antisepsis measures. Antisepsis is chemical processes, procedures, and treatments that kill microbes or prevent them from causing infection, anti means against and sepsis means a chain of infection.

The chain of infection

  • Source: a pathogen.
  • Reservoir: the pathogen needs a place where it can grow and multiply. A carrier is a human or animal that is a reservoir for microbes but does not develop a chain of infection. Carriers can transmit pathogens to others.
  • Exit Gate: The pathogen needs a way out of the reservoir. Outlets are respiratory, gastrointestinal (GI), urinary, reproductive, skin lesions, and blood.
  • Transmission method: the pathogen is transmitted to another host.
  • Gateway: the pathogen enters the body. The entry and exit ports are the same: respiratory, gastrointestinal, urinary, reproductive, skin lesions, and blood.
  • Susceptible host: the transmitted microbe needs a host where it can grow and multiply

Susceptible hosts

Susceptible hosts are at risk of developing the chain of infection. They include people who:

  • They are very young or old.
  • They are sick.
  • They have been exposed to the pathogen.
  • They do not follow practices to prevent the chain of infection.
  • They are burn patients. When burns destroy the skin, the wound is a gateway for germs.
  • They are transplant patients. A transplant involves transferring an organ or tissue from one person to another or from one part of the body to another. The body’s normal immune response is to attack (reject) the new organ or tissue. To prevent rejection, medication is given, which prevents (prevents) the immune system from producing antibodies. Antibodies are needed to fight a chain of infection.
  • They are patients undergoing chemotherapy. Some chemotherapy drugs interfere with the ability to produce white blood cells (WBC). GB is needed to fight a chain of infection.

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Stay safe from harmful microbes through optimal hygiene

Did you know that keeping our homes clean does not mean that they are free of potentially harmful microbes that are constantly being released into the environment by people and animals and contaminated food? These germs are invisible so you cannot clean them out of your home. 

The effective way to protect your home from harmful microbes is to practice good hygiene at those key times when they are most likely to spread. We call this “optimal hygiene.”

harmful microbes

What is optimal hygiene and why do we need it?

Introducing good hygiene practices in your home is the best way to have peace of mind that you are doing everything you can to protect yourself and your family from infectious diseases.

Optimal hygiene provides a means to maximize protection against harmful microbes while enhancing exposure to beneficial microbes that we need to build a healthy microbiome in our gut, respiratory tract, mouth, and on our skin, reducing risk. to develop allergies and other types of illnesses. 

The key to optimal hygiene is that you focus on breaking the chain of infection. This differs significantly from the traditional view that hygiene means removing dirt, as this is where harmful microbes are primarily found. In reality, the source of harmful microbes is mainly other people, contaminated food and water, and pets.

Breaking the chain of infection to prevent the spread of harmful microbes

Harmful microbes enter our homes primarily through contaminated people or pets, food, or water. They spread continuously and then spread through carriers such as hands, toilets, clothes, etc. We can be infected by these microbes, for example, by touching an infected surface and then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes, or by eating contaminated food by handling it with contaminated hands. This is known as the “chain of infection.” All links in the chain must be in place for an infection to spread. So if we break one of the links in the chain, the infection cannot spread.

Hygiene practices are used in the home to prevent the continued spread of harmful microbes by breaking this chain of infection.

There are some species of microbes known to be potentially harmful (for example, some intestinal bacteria), which can grow and multiply to form permanent deposits in places where standing water accumulates such as sinks/bath/shower drain, under the edge of the toilet and on damp cleaning cloths and sponges. They are not normally harmful but can pose a risk to people who have lower immunity to a chain of infection.

When do you need to practice optimal hygiene?

Optimal hygiene means focusing hygiene practices on the times when harmful microbes are most likely to spread from the sources listed above. These times are when you:

  1. Handles food
  2. Eat with your hands
  3. Use the toilet or change a baby’s diaper
  4. He coughs, sneezes and blows his nose
  5. Touch surfaces frequently touched by other people
  6. Handle and wash dirty clothes and household items.
  7. Take care of pets
  8. Handle and throw away the trash
  9. Take care of an infected family member.

During these nine times, hygiene measures such as hand washing, surface cleaning, etc., should focus on the critical surfaces (called “critical control points”) most likely to spread these harmful microbes. In all these risky moments, hands are a critical control point, but food contact surfaces and cleaning rags are critical in many situations as well. Harmful microbes can also be spread through clothing and household items, bathrooms, showers, and sinks, and occasionally through floors and furniture.

But it is important to realize that while keeping our homes clean through daily or weekly cleaning routines can help prevent the spread of infection, its contribution to protecting us from exposure to harmful microbes is relatively small compared to cleaning practices. hygiene performed at key risk moments.

How to break the chain of infection

The purpose of a hygiene practice is to reduce the amount of harmful microbes on hands, surfaces and fabrics to a level that is not harmful to health. This can be done in the following way:

  1. Elimination of microbes from surfaces: using cleaning products (eg detergents or soap) and cleaning tools with water. Clean water rinsing is a vital step in the process
  2. Inactivation of microbes on surfaces in situ: using products / processes, i.e. heat (e.g. higher temperature wash for clothes), disinfectants, hand sanitizers, etc.

In many or most situations, cleaning, followed by rinsing and drying, is sufficient to prevent the spread of the chain of infection. But there are some situations where it may be necessary to disinfect after cleaning, for example, using hand sanitizers when we don’t have access to soap and water or cleaning surfaces that cannot be effectively rinsed with water.

Hand hygiene is the most important and common hygiene practice in the 9 risk moments described above.

To ensure that your hands are hygienically clean, always scrub them well with soap and water, then rinse thoroughly with clean water, and finally dry. Wet hands pick up germs faster than dry hands. If you don’t have access to running water or a towel, use a hand sanitizer.

Optimal hygiene enables sustainable hygiene by avoiding the excessive use of cleaning products. It also ensures the prudent use of disinfectant products to avoid any risk associated with the development of resistance to antibiotics.

5 tips to help prevent infection

Frequent illnesses, such as the flu, can quickly become dangerous for a person with sickle cell disease. The best defense is to take simple steps to help prevent the chain of infection.

prevent infection


Washing your hands is one of the best ways to help prevent the chain of infection. People with sickle cell disease, their families, and other caregivers should wash their hands with soap and clean water many times a day. If you don’t have soap and water, you can use alcohol-based gels to clean your hands.

When to wash your hands:

  • Prepare the food
  • Eat
  • Use the bathroom
  • Blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • Shake hands
  • Having contact with people or things that can carry germs, such as:
    • Diapers or a child who has just gone to the bathroom
    • Food that is not cooked (raw meat, raw eggs, or unwashed vegetables)
    • Animals or animal droppings
    • Garbage
    • A sick person

Food safety

A bacteria, called salmonella, found in some foods can be especially harmful to children with sickle cell disease. How to keep food safe when cooking and eating:

  • Wash hands, cutting boards, support surfaces, knives, and other utensils after they have come into contact with raw food.
  • Wash vegetables and fruits well before eating them.
  • Cook the meat well. The juices should be clear and the inside should not be pink.
  • Do not eat raw or undercooked eggs. Some foods like homemade hollandaise sauce, Caesar dressing and other homemade salad dressings, tiramisu, homemade ice cream, homemade mayonnaise, cookie dough, and frostings may contain raw egg.
  • Do not consume raw or unpasteurized milk or other dairy products (cheeses). Make sure these foods have a label that says they are “pasteurized.”


A bacterium, called salmonella, which can be present in some reptiles, can be especially harmful to children with sickle cell disease. Make sure children do not come in contact with turtles, snakes, or lizards.


Vaccines are a great way to prevent many serious chains of infection. Children with sickle cell disease should receive all routine childhood immunizations plus a few additional ones.

These are the additional vaccines:

  • Influenza (flu) vaccine every year after 6 months of age.
  • Special pneumococcal vaccine (called 23-valent pneumococcal vaccine) at 2 and 5 years of age.
  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) between 6 and 18 years of age, if the child has not previously received it.
  • Meningococcal vaccine, if your doctor recommends it.


Penicillin (or another antibiotic prescribed by a doctor) should be given daily for at least 5 years of age.

Her passion for writing and her educational background has assisted her substantially in writing quality content on topics related to health and wellness. In her free time, Dev loves to explore the world and the different flavors/cuisines it has to offer. Photography is another hobby she has developed of late.

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