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Not using an Alcohol swab before injections

Updated | Posted

Question...

Today while giving vaccines to a 6 month old, I had to apply a new clean needle to one of the vaccines I was giving due to being contaminated by touching the patients skin before the actual injection was given. I definitely remember cleaning off the skin with an alcohol swab prior to the first vaccine, but I can't seem to remember if I re-cleaned the area. I do remember the skin looking a bit red and splotchy before giving the second injection, however. I'm freaking out some in thinking I could've given this baby an infection! What are some of your thoughts on this matter? I know I tend to worry about small things all the time, but this is causing me a bit of anxiety. Thank you in advance for your thoughts!

KelRN215, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pedi. Has 10 years experience.

Did you give both vaccines in the same site? I highly doubt you gave the baby an infection.

Ayvah, RN

Specializes in Med Surg, Specialty. Has 10 years experience.

So you cleaned the skin, then had a clean needle touch the skin, then you put a new needle on and gave the injection?

You're just fine, don't give it a second thought! :)

Im no expert on infections

But ive never heard of someone instantly getting an infection

If that gives you anxiety, you won't want to work with central lines or ports in a hospital where a patient could have multiple arterial lines or tubes coming out of every body area.

The kid is fine, don't worry.

blondy2061h, MSN, RN

Specializes in Oncology. Has 15 years experience.

I've had type 1 diabetes for 10 years. I was on 6+ daily injections. I never used an alcohol wipe. I never got an infection.

TriciaJ, RN

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory. Has 40 years experience.

I vaguely remember a study done years ago that supposedly showed alcohol swabs are of minimal value. Apparently, alcohol doesn't kill that many bugs. I haven't seen any recent studies, but we're still swabbing injection sites.

When I was about to have surgery, the anesthesiologist hooked up my antibiotic without swabbing the port. I questioned him and his answer was that since it was an antibiotic, it would kill anything that got introduced. He then pushed Versed into another port with no swab, glibly telling me that the antibiotic was in a distal port and would kill anything in its path. Somehow I survived.

:nurse:

TriciaJ said:
I vaguely remember a study done years ago that supposedly showed alcohol swabs are of minimal value. Apparently, alcohol doesn't kill that many bugs. I haven't seen any recent studies, but we're still swabbing injection sites.

When I was about to have surgery, the anesthesiologist hooked up my antibiotic without swabbing the port. I questioned him and his answer was that since it was an antibiotic, it would kill anything that got introduced. He then pushed Versed into another port with no swab, glibly telling me that the antibiotic was in a distal port and would kill anything in its path. Somehow I survived.

:nurse:

haha, would love to do this in front of my nurse manager or DON and say the same thing this guy did. And he is probably right. Heck, imagine all the alcohol swabs that could be saved, and how much less used pads and foil wrappers in the landfills. Hmm.

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience.

Baby's skin was red and splotchy from the rubbing and alcohol itself.

Infection is the least of the concerns.

Review the CDC guidelines for pediatric immunizations and carry on!

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience.

Actually, the alcohol does not kill anything without a 15- 30 second drying time and then repeating the process. ( Whose got time for that ;). That's when any organisms present are killed.

Wowza an anesthesiologist is THAT misinformed? No wonder hospital acquired infection rates continue to skyrocket. I would have told Dr. Death to get the h*ll away from me.

blondy2061h, MSN, RN

Specializes in Oncology. Has 15 years experience.

Been there,done that said:

Wowza an anesthesiologist is THAT misinformed? No wonder hospital acquired infection rates continue to skyrocket. I would have told Dr. Death to get the h*ll away from me.

I'm sure he's not that misinformed, merely lazy or stuck in a bad habit rut and figured he could bull the lowly nurse when he got caught.

TriciaJ, RN

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory. Has 40 years experience.

blondy2061h said:
I'm sure he's not that misinformed, merely lazy or stuck in a bad habit rut and figured he could bull the lowly nurse when he got caught.

I'm not even sure he knew I was a nurse. Someone remarked that I should have told him the infection control coordinator was my aunt. (She isn't, but it might have gotten a fun reaction.)

Racer15, BSN, RN

Specializes in ED. Has 5 years experience.

I remember when I was in vet tech school, one of my professors (a veterinarian) remarked that alcohol swabs didn't really do anything as far as killing bacteria. He told us it encapsulated some of the bacteria but really didn't make anything sterile, it was mostly for show.

JBudd, MSN

Specializes in Trauma, Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

The moisture and rubbing action is what is getting rid of surface dirt, (and the alcohol dries quickly). I often look at the pad after "cleaning" a site, and see plenty of dirt on the pad itself (work in an ED). If it is really dirty, I swipe with a new alcohol pad.

Bodies are a lot tougher than we give them credit for, just remember microbiology! How anyone is still alive is a mystery :roflmao:

...and if all the comments from the previous posters didn't make you feel better, then think of this: the needle you touched the skin with was probably sterile, or at worse had the baby's own flora on it.

I wouldn't worry!

Thank you everyone! I really need to calm down, relax and let it go or I'm in for a long, stressful career!