Preventing Cross-Infection in Post-Surgical Wound Care
by Hy-Tape International
Infections are common and serious complications associated with post-surgical wounds. In wounds resulting from clean surgery, 8% become infected among the general population and 25% among those over 60 years of age.1 Preventing these infections can help reduce costs, improve patient outcomes, and save lives. It is critical that health care professionals understand the risk of cross-contamination and take steps to prevent it.
The Importance of Infection Prevention
Infection control is important for many reasons. Infections often lead to more serious complications such as delayed wound healing, severe sepsis, and septic shock. This can ultimately result in lasting injury or death.2 Infections can also dramatically increase the costs of post-surgical wound care. Because the infection itself must be treated and infected wounds heal more slowly, additional treatment is required. This amounts to a cost of an additional $6,813 for each hospital-acquired infection (HAI).3
How to Prevent Cross-Infection
Preventing cross-contamination is important to controlling rates of HAIs. A total of 20% to 40% of nosocomial infections are caused by cross-contamination.4 By taking steps to ensure proper hygiene and reduce contamination from infected patients, health care professionals can lower these rates and improve outcomes for patients.
Diagnose Infection Early – To keep infections from spreading, it is important to identify infected patients rapidly and take treatment steps early on. Health care professionals should regularly look for signs of erythema, induration, pain, increased exudate, abscess, or cellulitis in at-risk patients. Infected patients, particularly those infected by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, should be isolated from other patients as much as possible, and extra precautions should be taken to avoid transmitting the infection.4
Prevent Tape Cross-Contamination – Using the same roll of medical adhesive tape for multiple patients can significantly increase the likelihood of cross-contamination. Bacteria or other pathogens can survive for extended periods on these surfaces. This allows pathogens to be transferred from the tape roll to the patient’s wound area. To avoid this problem, it is best to use a medical adhesive that is sold in single-use, hygienically sealed packets. This ensures that the tape is uncontaminated, reducing the risk of infection.5
Utilize Wound Care Best Practices – Sanitary wound bed preparation, debridement, a moist healing environment, and an appropriate dressing that fits securely can all help promote rapid healing and keep the wound free from infection. The wound area should be kept clean at all times, and dressings should be secured in place using strong, water-resistant medical adhesives to prevent the ingress of foreign material. Because large numbers of HAIs are transmitted via the hands of health care professionals, it is also important that new gloves be worn when working with each patient.6
Following these basic guidelines will help ensure that cross-contamination is minimized. Although HAIs and the mounting risk of multidrug resistant organisms are significant and growing problems, it is possible to control these risks. A preventative cross-contamination reduction plan will help lower costs, save time, and improve patients’ quality of life.
1. Noman TA, Raja'a YA, Assiraji HM, Assofi YA. Rate of wound infection after clean surgery. Saudi Med J. 2001;22(1):58–60.
2. Munford RS.Severe sepsis and septic shock. In: Kasper DL, Fauci AS, Hauser SL, Longo DL, Jameson JL, Loscalzo J, eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. http://accessmedicine.com. Accessed November 23, 2015 .
3. Drew P, Posnett J, Rusling L, on behalf of the Wound Care Audit Team. The cost of wound care for a local population in England. Int Wound J 2007;4:149–155.
4. Russotto V, Cortegiani A, Raineri SM, Giarratano A. Bacterial contamination of inanimate surfaces and equipment in the intensive care unit. J Intensive Care. 2015;3:54.
5. Carver C. Wound Infection Diagnosis and Management. Wound Source Practice Accelerator. WoundSource.com. https://pages.woundsource.com/wound-infection-diagnosis-and-management/ . Accessed on July 23, 2018.
6. Rammaert B, Lanternier F, Zahar JR, et al. Healthcare-associated mucormycosis. Clin Infect Dis. 2013;54 Suppl 1):S44–54.
7. Pickering D, Marsden J. Techniques for aseptic dressing and procedures. Community Eye Health. 2015;28(89):17.
About the Company
Hy-Tape International offers high-quality adhesive tape and has served the market for 70 years. Tapes are available in strips, patches, and kit rolls giving health care providers a wide range of options for securing dressings and devices. Free product samples are available at www.hytape.com or by calling 1-800-248-0201.
Industry Voices is brought to you by health care industry sponsors. All content is developed and paid for by the sponsoring company. Kestrel Health Information, Inc. is not involved in the creation of this content. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, Kestrel Health Information, Inc., its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.