1

ASEPSIS AND INFECTION CONTROL
Asepsis
Asepsis is the state of being free from disease-causing contaminants (such as bacteria, viruses,
fungi, and parasites) or, preventing contact with microorganisms. The term asepsis often refers to
those practices used to promote or induce asepsis in an operative field in surgery or medicine to
prevent infection.
Medical asepsis
1. Includes all practices intended to confine a specific microorganism to a specific area
2. Limits the number, growth, and transmission of microorganisms
3. Objects referred to as clean or dirty (soiled, contaminated)
Surgical asepsis
1. Sterile technique
2. Practices that keep an area or object free of all microorganisms
3. Practices that destroy all microorganisms and spores
4. Used for all procedures involving sterile areas of the body
Principles of Aseptic Technique Only sterile items are used within sterile field.
1. Sterile objects become unsterile when touched by unsterile objects.
2. Sterile items that are out of vision or below the waist level of the nurse are considered
unsterile.
3. Sterile objects can become unsterile by prolong exposure to airborne microorganisms.
4. Fluids flow in the direction of gravity.
5. Moisture that passes through a sterile object draws microorganism from unsterile surfaces
above or below to the surface by capillary reaction.
6. The edges of a sterile field are considered unsterile.
7. The skin cannot be sterilized and is unsterile.

Conscientiousness.2 8. in some situations. alertness and honesty are essential qualities in maintaining surgical asepsis Infection Signs of Localized Infection  Localized swelling  Localized redness  Pain or tenderness with palpation or movement  Palpable heat in the infected area  Loss of function of the body part affected. nausea and vomiting  Enlargement and tenderness of lymph nodes that drain the area of infection Factors Influencing Microorganism’s Capability to Produce Infection  Number of microorganisms present  Virulence and potency of the microorganisms (pathogenicity)  Ability to enter the body  Susceptibility of the host  Ability to live in the host’s body Anatomic and Physiologic Barriers Defend Against Infection . depending on the site and extent of involvement Signs of Systemic Infection  Fever  Increased pulse and respiratory rate if the fever high  Malaise and loss of energy  Anorexia and.

3  Intact skin and mucous membranes  Moist mucous membranes and cilia of the nasal passages  Alveolar macrophages  Tears  High acidity of the stomach  Resident flora of the large intestine  Peristalsis  Low pH of the vagina  Urine flow through the urethra Interventions to Reduce Risk for Infection  Proper hand hygiene techniques  Environmental controls  Sterile technique when warranted  Identification and management of clients at risk Chain of Infection 1. Basic to the principle of infection is to interrupt this chain so that an infection from a microorganism does not occur in client 3. called direct and indirect 5. Susceptible host describes a host (human or animal) not possessing enough resistance against a particular pathogen to prevent disease or infection from occurring when . Infectious agent. The chain of infection refers to those elements that must be present to cause an infection from a microorganism 2. microorganisms capable of causing infections are referred to as an infectious agent or pathogen 4. Modes of transmission: the microorganism must have a means of transmission to get from one location to another.

it can be a person. in humans this may occur if the person’s resistance is low because of poor nutrition. and other humans. respiratory. 8. arthropod. reservoirs that support organism that are pathogenic to humans are inanimate objects food and water. genitourinary tract). oil or a combination of these things. . common escape routes are the gastrointestinal. Reservoir: the environment in which the microorganism lives to ensure survival. plant. there is usually a common escape route for each type of microorganism. on humans. lack of exercise of a coexisting illness that weakens the host. Portal of entry: the means of a pathogen entering a host: the means of entry can be the same as one that is the portal of exit (gastrointestinal. 7. 6. animal. respiratory and the genitourinary tract. Portal of exit: the means in which the pathogen escapes from the reservoir and can cause disease.4 exposed to the pathogen.

or sneezing over open wounds or sterile fields  Covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing Method of transmission  Proper hand hygiene  Instructing clients and support persons to perform hand hygiene before handling food. coughing. disinfect. eating. and sterilize article Reservoir (source)  Changing dressings and bandages when soiled or wet  Appropriate skin and oral hygiene  Disposing of damp.5 Breaking the Chain of Infection Etiologic agent  Correctly cleaning. soiled linens appropriately  Disposing of feces and urine in appropriate receptacles  Ensuring that all fluid containers are covered or capped  Emptying suction and drainage bottles at end of each shift or before full or according to agency policy Portal of exit  Avoiding talking. disinfecting or sterilizing articles before use  Educating clients and support persons about appropriate methods to clean. after eliminating and after touching infectious material  Wearing gloves when handling secretions and excretions  Wearing gowns if there is danger of soiling clothing with body substances  Placing discarded soiled materials in moisture-proof refuse bags .

droplet nuclei can remain in the air for long periods and dust particles containing infectious agents can become airborne infecting a susceptible host generally through the respiratory tract . 2. spits. touching. transmission by droplet can occur when a person coughs. Air: airborne transmission involves droplets or dust. flying or crawling). droplet spread is also a form of direct contact but can occur only if the source and the host are within 3 feet from each other. when exposing open wounds or handling dressings  Placing used disposable needles and syringes in puncture-resistant containers for disposal  Providing all clients with own personal care items Susceptible host  Maintaining the integrity of the client’s skin and mucous membranes  Ensuring that the client receives a balanced diet  Educating the public about the importance of immunizations Modes of Transmission 1. kissing.6  Holding used bedpans steadily to prevent spillage  Disposing of urine and feces in appropriate receptacles  Initiating and implementing aseptic precautions for all clients  Wearing masks and eye protection when in close contact with clients who have infections transmitted by droplets from the respiratory tract  Wearing masks and eye protection when sprays of body fluid are possible Portal of entry  Using sterile technique for invasive procedures. Indirect contact: can occur through fomites (inanimate objects or materials) or through vectors (animal or insect. or talks. sneezes. Direct contact: describes the way in which microorganisms are transferred from person to person through biting. the fomites or vectors act as vehicle for transmission 3. or sexual intercourse.