Dr. Andrea Brockman speaks about things you can do to keep you from getting infections during a hospital stay.
Hospitals are Not the Healthiest of Environments.
Now with more admissions of Covid-19 infected patients, it’s not a place you want to spend time – especially when your immune system is already compromised. But an accident, coronary, infection, birth, or hospital procedure may make going to the hospital unavoidable. So, here’s a few things you can do to avoid infections and stay healthy.
- Stay hydrated: Drink water as much as possible. IVs may be needed, but if possible, keep water bottles filled frequently.
- Move your body: If able, walk around the room. If bedridden, wiggle toes, feet, hands and fingers. Turn every two hours in bed and ask for assistance if needed. This is important to ward off bed sores and pneumonia.
- Breathe deeply: Pay attention to your breath and every hour take three deep breaths, hold for 4 seconds and breathe out slowly.
- Eat healthfully: This may be easier said than done. Hospitals are not known for the healthiest meal choices, although they are starting to pay more attention to this. Stay away from sugar that lowers your immune system. That includes soft drinks, candy, and most desserts. Eat fruit rather than fruit juices if you must have something sweet.
- Sleep restfully: This may be the hardest thing to do with human interruptions throughout the night and the hums and buzzes of equipment. At least ask to turn the lights off and close the door. Keep the TV off. Nap during the day when really tired.
- Laugh: It’s the best medicine. Stay away from the news or depressing programs than can honestly affect your immune system. Find a show that makes you smile and puts you in a good mood.
- Keep clean: Of course wash your hands and make sure anyone entering the room washes hands. Keep your food utensils on your tray and take care of your oral hygiene.
Your Oral Condition – It is the Most Vital Component to Good Health in the Hospital…and Out
Your dental health is one of the keys to staying healthy and resisting infections. Yet, sadly, it is mostly ignored. You can learn so much about this key to health.
Here is How the Presence of Oral Infection Puts You at Risk.
- Pneumonia is caused by germs that build up in the lungs and block the flow of oxygen to the body. If the mouth is not clean, there are more germs in the mouth and throat, increasing the chances of sparking an infection.
- Bacteria from gum disease can travel on an intubation tube into the lungs during a surgical procedure leading to post-operative pneumonia.
- Heart attack and stroke are increased when germs from diseased gums get into the bloodstream.
- A poor oral condition weakens your immune system.
So What Can You Do to Protect Yourself ?
- Get your gum condition under control before you go into the hospital by visiting the dental hygienist and then following good home care.
- Keep oral tissues moist. Dry mouth increases bacterial colonization.
- Bring your own non-alcoholic mouthwash. Alcohol may kill exposed oral bacteria, but it also dries the tissues and is not as effective as essential oils in penetrating under the gum where the harmful bacteria reside.
- Thoroughly clean dentures daily by brushing and soaking with an antibacterial agent.
As an aside: label your dentures and the case they are being stored in. If your dentures are lost, you will be unable to eat and digest your food. This can delay healing and increase your vulnerability.
What’s Good for Staying Healthy in the Hospital, is Good for When You Get Home
In summary: practicing good oral hygiene, steering clear of sugary foods and beverages, lowering stress levels, and seeing your dentist on a regular basis may very well help ward off a serious complication during your hospital stay.
Dr. Andrea Brockman is a retired Intensive Care Nurse and Biological Dentist. She is the co-creator of the educational website and ExploreHolistic Practitioner and Marketplace Directory.
As holistic dentists, we've recommended products and services that supported our patients’ health for decades. In experiencing our own health challenges from mercury toxicity, we worked closely with many natural, alternative, and integrative health practitioners who aided our recovery as well as our patients’. We built this site to provide you with a simple-to-use, comprehensive, informational, and functional resource for your physical, emotional, and spiritual health & well-being.
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