The chain of infection is used to determine each step in the infection process that is constant in order for an infection to occur. Knowing what each step involves and how infections spread will help you to understand how to break the chain at any point to stop the infection process.
This infographic from Ottawa Public Health highlights the chain of infection links. Using your understanding of these chains, think of how you would stop the link from connecting to the next in line in order to stop the infection process.
How do you stop the transmission at each step?
- To stop the transmission at the infectious agent link, use sanitization, disinfection, and sterilization techniques to remove pathogens.
- To stop the transmission at the reservoirs link, use handwashing and clean/sterile procedures to reduce the potential of contaminated equipment, food, water, or infected humans or animals.
- To stop the transmission at the portals of exit link, use PPE’s, sterile technique and Isolation to stop the infection going from the host the host to infect others.
- To stop the transmission at the modes of transmission link use handwashing, aseptic technique and PPE’s to reduce chances of transferring the pathogen.
- To stop the transmission at the portals of entry link use handwashing, sterile instruments, PPE’s to prevent the pathogen from entering another host
- To stop the transmission at the susceptible host you need to manage the immunizations, diet and exercise, stress level (reduce), skin care for intact skin, and general good health of the host to keep the host healthy and able to ward off infection.
There are several limitations that can negative impact effects to break the chain of transmission in your own practice. Some challenges you may identify during the course of your own work day include:
- Lack of supplies. It is essential that all supplies are to be set up prior to the task to avoid unnecessary trips.
- Lack of preparation. Preparation includes planning for the appropriate amount of time and space needed for a task.
- Lack of infection prevention knowledge. In other words, you must know how to prevent infections while completing a task.
To prepare yourself for preventing germ transmission on the job, ask yourself:
- What are the ways you can break the chain at each point in your work environment?
- What may be a barrier to breaking the chain of infection?