You go to the hospital to get well, not sick. But sometimes patients pick up infections while in the hospital. In some cases, those can lead to serious illness or death. In early 2015, for instance, reports came out that some hospital patients having endoscope procedures were exposed to bacteria. The bacteria had survived cleaning of the scopes. At least two people died. Such incidents are rare. Still, people worry. And they wonder what hospitals do to keep such things from happening. All hospitals have plans in place to keep bacteria and viruses from spreading from patient to patient. There are plans specifically for patient rooms and in rooms where procedures take place. As in our daily life, the best ways to keep germs from spreading are often the most simple. Infection Control Measures Hand Washing: The most important step that hospital workers can take is a very simple one: Wash hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before and after every contact with a patient. Hand washing is a major part of infection control in hospitals. Many hospitals post signs about proper ways to wash your hands. That's a good reminder to both workers and patients. Rooms: Whenever possible, patients with infectious diseases have private rooms. Hospitals sometimes post "isolation" signs outside the rooms of patients who are highly contagious. The signs remind doctors and other healthcare workers that they must be especially careful when caring for these patients. The hospital might not allow visitors in those rooms. Hospitals often encourage patients with infections to stay in their rooms and away from others. But, they may need to go to other parts of the hospital for treatment or tests. Then, workers take extra care so the patients don’t have contact with staff or other patients. Clothing and Masks: Healthcare workers wear gloves, gowns and masks when caring for patients who have a disease that can spread easily. They do the same for patients whose condition makes them likely to contract such a disease. Hospital staffers might ask visitors to put on gowns and masks, too. When leaving the patient’s room, visitors put the gloves, mask and gown in a special container. The hospital treats them with a disinfectant or discards them properly. Bandages: Healthcare workers take special care to keep patients’ wound dressings clean, tight and dry. This helps protect the wounds from infection. Cleaning: Hospital staff clean rooms and common areas often to get rid of germs. Patients who think their room is dirty can always ask to have it cleaned. Also, workers must keep all equipment clean, too. They follow safety procedures for this as well. Visitor Policies: Hospitals often post signs asking people who are ill to not visit friends or family members in the hospital. Vaccinations: Flu shots and other vaccinations are a good way to prevent infections. Hospitals typically require that all healthcare workers and hospital staff get a flu vaccine every year and be up to date on other needed shots. Speak Up If You’re Concerned If you’re in the hospital and are worried that proper safety procedures aren’t being followed, don't keep quiet. Talk with the head nurse or hospital administrator on your floor. This is in everyone's best interest.