Aseptic Technique: What Is It?
What is Aseptic Technique?
Aseptic technique is the use of minimal contact with living organisms, such as bacteria and viruses. This method helps prevent infection during surgery or other medical procedures. There are two main forms of aseptic technique: direct and indirect methods. Direct techniques involve touching only the skin area where there are no visible signs of contamination; these may include using alcohol swabs, cotton swab tips, etc. Indirect techniques involve touching all parts of the body, including the hands, face, eyes and mouth.
Direct techniques are used when there is a high risk of infection due to physical characteristics (such as large cuts), or because the procedure involves handling potentially contaminated objects. For example, if someone were going into surgery with open wounds on their arms or legs they would use direct techniques.
Indirect techniques may be performed either before or after surgery. They may also be performed at home, at the hospital, or even in another room. The following are some examples of indirect techniques:
Washing your hands before entering a car or bus: You don’t want to touch any germs on the seat or door handles. If you do so, then you could get sick from a virus that’s been lying around on those surfaces for days!
Washing your hands before eating food: If you eat with dirty hands, you could easily transfer bacteria from your fingers into your food. That would cause you to get sick soon after.
Washing your hands before preparing food for others: If you prepare food with dirty hands, you can pass those same bacteria to everyone who eats that food. You wouldn’t want to make your friends and family sick!
Washing your hands before treating an injury: If you treat a wound with dirty hands, you run the risk of passing the bacteria from your hands into the wound. That could result in a serious infection.
Washing your hands before having intimate contact with another person: It is essential to maintain good personal hygiene to avoid passing harmful bacteria between two people who are about to engage in intimate contact.
Washing your hands before bed: If you don’t wash your hands before going to sleep, you could easily pass bacteria from your hands to your face while you sleep. This is a common cause of pimples and other skin problems.
Washing your hands after using the restroom: If you have touched any contaminated area after using the bathroom, you want to wash your hands before doing anything else. Otherwise you run the very high risk of picking up harmful bacteria!
Washing your hands after coughing or sneezing: Coughing and sneezing usually spreads the largest amount of bacteria after going to the bathroom (or using a public toilet). If someone coughs or sneezes on you, you should wash your hands immediately afterward.
Washing your hands after touching animals or animal waste: If you touch an animal or something covered in animal dung (such as a cat box), you should wash your hands afterward. This is especially important if you have a cut or open wound on your hand.
Washing your hands after touching raw meat, fish or eggs: Raw meats often contain harmful bacteria that can make you very sick. You don’t want to take the chance of getting sick from the same foods that you eat! A good rule of thumb is to wash your hands immediately after touching raw food.
Washing your hands after touching garbage: It’s not uncommon for people to have bacteria or viruses on their hands after handling garbage. You don’t want that to be transferred to your own food!
Washing your hands before doing anything else: Sometimes you may find yourself in a situation where you can’t wash your hands immediately. In this case, it is best to go ahead and do it as soon as it is practical to do so.
Washing your hands before and after eating is a great habit to get into for several reasons. Not only does it prevent you from getting sick, but it also helps you maintain a healthy body weight!
Sources & references used in this article:
ANTT: a standard approach to aseptic technique. by S Rowley, S Clare – Nursing times, 2011 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
ANTT v2: an updated practice framework for aseptic technique by S Rowley, S Clare, S Macqueen… – British Journal of …, 2010 – magonlinelibrary.com
A nursing practice problem: failure to observe aseptic technique by C McLane, S Chenelly, ML Sylwestrak… – American journal of …, 1983 – Elsevier
Aseptic technique: evidence-based approach for patient safety by RM Preston – British Journal of Nursing, 2005 – magonlinelibrary.com