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The Committee to Recuce Infection Deaths (RID) lists 15 ways you can protect yourself against hospital acquired infections. The Committee has an excellent site you should visit. They have found, the easiest step is to just ask hospital staff to clean their hands before treating you, and ask visitors to clean their hands too. According to the CID this is the single most important way to protect yourself in the hospital. If you’re worried about being too aggressive, just remember your life could be at stake. All caregivers should clean their hands before treating you. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are more effective at removing most bacteria than soap and water. Do not hesitate to say: "Excuse me, but there’s an alcohol dispenser right there. Would you mind using that before you touch me, so I can see it?" Don’t be falsely assured by gloves. If caregivers have pulled on gloves without cleaning their hands first, the gloves are already contaminated before they touch you.

Studies show that, nearly three quarters of patients’ rooms are contaminated with MRSA and 69% with VRE. In one study, 42% of gloves worn by hospital personnel who had no direct patient contact but who touched contaminated surfaces became contaminated.

A Concensus Statement by a multidisciplinary group of experts asked by the American Medical Association to provide guidelines for infection control cautions that: "In some cases caregivers actually go from patient to patient without changing their gloves, apparently confusing self-protection" with patient protection.

If you or a loved one are about to be hospitalized you can protect yourself. Read the information on the RID website and learn the 15 ways you can protect yourself.

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