Inserting a catheter is often a necessary endeavor in healthcare for a variety of reasons. While having to use one is no one’s idea of an ideal situation, it doesn’t have to be the most uncomfortable thing in the world, either. Anyone who has had one before knows that getting a UTI, or urinary tract infection, is a risk that comes along with catheter use, and if you should contract one it will make the situation all the more uncomfortable.
Certain hygienic precautions will not only make the entire experience a more comfortable one, they will also help keep the risk of contracting an infection to an absolute minimum. Whether you’re caring for yourself or another person, be sure to take these important steps.
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Clean Hands and Gloves
The two biggest culprits for causing UTIs are improper hygienic practices and neglecting to clean insertion equipment. Whether you’re a healthcare professional, caring for a loved one, or caring for yourself, it’s important to wash your hands and wear gloves when dealing with any bodily procedure, and this is especially true for catheter insertion. Infections come from the spread of bacteria, which can be kept to a minimum by washing your hands with antibacterial soap and using a brand new pair of medical gloves.
When using a catheter, it’s more important than ever to make sure that the patient is bathing regularly with soap and water, especially in the genital area. This goes hand-in-hand with the idea of keeping hands clean prior to the procedure – a clean body will help to prevent the travel of germs.
Never Reusing Materials
There might have been a time when reusing catheters was recommended or necessary; however, this is no longer the case. Washing and reusing the materials increases the chances of a UTI because it’s impossible to know if all the bacteria was killed or removed. In 2008, the Medicare policy was updated to include the statement that catheters were meant only for single-use.
The policy now allows for up to 200 catheter changes per patient per month to help reduce the spread and contraction of infection. This is ideal for patients who have chronic incontinence, as they are obviously at the highest risk for UTIs. Since reusing is no longer a necessity, it’s recommended that all patients take advantage of the new policy.
Drinking plenty of water and other fluids steadily throughout the day increases the number of times the patient urinates, which promotes flushing out bacteria consistently. It’s best to avoid beverages that irritate the bladder or dehydrate the body, such as coffee and alcohol. It’s always a good idea to take cranberry pill supplements or drink all-natural cranberry juice to keep the urine acidic and therefore reduce the amount of bacteria.
Consider Hydrophilic Materials
Hydrophilic-coated catheter materials have been proven to reduce the risk of a UTI because the lubrication minimizes friction and therefore reduces tearing and other trauma to the urethra. Most patients prefer this type as they are simply more comfortable to use.
Following these tips are the best ways to make sure you or your loved one doesn’t get an infection.
Just remember, cleanliness is the most important thing!
Ashely is part of a writing team that has contributed to blogs and news sites. She has a particular interest in writing about health and beauty. To see more, check out her Twitter @ashelymarie1985.