Each year, it’s estimated that 2 million Americans — that’s 5 percent of all hospital patients — will develop a hospital-acquired infection during the course of a hospitalization. Of these 2 million mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, 90,000 of them will die from the infection. That’s more deaths than the number of women who die of breast cancer each year. It’s a sobering realization.

What’s going wrong in our nation’s hospitals? For years, hospitals have downplayed the problem, summarizing it as an unfortunate side effect of advances in medical technology. The question is, aren’t things supposed to improve with technology? A rising death toll is no improvement. Especially when documented medical studies show that a simple measure—such as doctors and nurses washing their hands between each patient interaction—can save as many as 30,000 patients from unnecessary death each year.

A segment of the medical community has begun to combat the problem of deadly hospital-acquired infection. They have proven that hospitals with active and appropriate procedures in place can dramatically reduce, even eliminate, deadly infections that have been needlessly killing thousands of people each year.

This push for higher standards of infection control in hospitals has made headway. Beginning in 2006 some states, like Pennsylvania, will be required to report all types of infection that occur during a patients hospital stay. It’s an effort to track down the root problems which cause the spread of hospital infections. While the initiative is great start, some Infection Control Specialists warn that this new reporting is most likely to be ignored by hospital staff.

It’s an unsettling situation. That’s why chiropractors encourage people to fill their lives with easy, but powerful, preventative measures that promote higher levels of health. Everyone is encouraged to take proactive measures like eating more vegetables and fruits, exercising regularly, stop smoking, and maintain a healthy spine with regularly scheduled chiropractic adjustments. You only have one body; do all you can to take care of it.

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