Sterile means "free from germs." When you care for your catheter or surgery wound, you will need to take steps to avoid spreading germs. Some cleaning and care procedures need to be done in a sterile way so that you do not get an infection. Carefully follow all of the steps described below to keep your work area sterile.
You will need:
It’s important to wash your hands well and keep all work surfaces clean and dry at all times. When you handle supplies, touch only the outside wrappers with your bare hands. You may need to wear a mask over your nose and mouth.
Keep your supplies within your reach so you do not drop or rub up against them when you are reaching. If you need to cough or sneeze, turn your head away from your supplies and cover your mouth with your upper arm.
Follow these steps to open up a sterile pad or kit:
Your gloves may be separate or inside your sterile kit. Follow these steps to get your gloves ready:
It’s important to put your gloves on carefully. Follow these steps:
Once your gloves are on, do not touch anything except your sterile supplies. If you do touch something else, remove the gloves, wash your hands again, and go through the steps to open and put on a new pair of gloves.
Call your doctor if you are having trouble using the sterile technique.
Updated by: Jennifer K. Mannheim, ARNP, Medical Staff, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, Seattle Children's Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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