study examines efficacy of antiseptic baths in fighting bloodstream infections

Without question, some of the more common — and pernicious — dangers in a hospital setting are bloodstream infections. For those unfamiliar with this condition, it frequently occurs when hospital staff fails to follow proper sterilization procedures and/or implement the necessary infection control strategies. Those unfortunate to be stricken with a blood stream infection often face serious complications including respiratory distress or organ failure, or possibly even death.

While hospitals have made some strides in combating the incidence of bloodstream infections, it goes without saying that more work needs to be done.

Interestingly, researchers at the renowned Johns Hopkins Children’s Center recently conducted a study showing how a relatively simple and inexpensive step can help protect children hospitalized in intensive care units from otherwise deadly bloodstream infections.

The yearlong study, which included over 4,000 patients in 10 pediatric ICUs located in five U.S. hospitals, sought to determine whether antiseptic baths proved effective in preventing the spread of bloodstream infections.

Here, children in five of the ICUs were given bedside baths using plain soap and water, while children in the other five ICUs were given bedside baths using a diluted solution of chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG), a common cleanser used as pre-surgery scrub and known to kill viruses, fungi and bacteria. After six months, the researchers switched the bedside bathing procedures in order to secure more reliable results.

Shockingly, the researchers found that the infection risk among pediatric patients given a bedside bath with a diluted CHG solution was 36 percent lower.

“Daily bedside baths with an antiseptic solution may be an easy, quick and relatively cheap way to cut the risk of a potentially life-threatening infection in these vulnerable children,” said the study’s lead researcher.

It should be noted that the study authors indicated further research is needed to determine if the benefits of CHG baths apply to non-ICU pediatric patients.

If your child has been victimized by the failure of hospital staff to follow proper sterilization protocol, it’s important to remember that do have options and you can seek justice on their behalf.

Please visit our website to learn more about hospital-acquired infections.

Source: Johns Hopkins Children Center, “Daily antiseptic baths slash risk of bloodstream infections in critically ill children,” Jan. 25, 2013

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