By Heather Michon |

Intravenous (IV) antibiotics are often an important line of treatment when it comes to serious infections. Although there are several different factors that can lead to an infection, in some cases the IV can actually be the cause, such as a Catheter-Related Bloodstream Infection (CRBSI).

Bacteria lurks everywhere, and infections from IVs generally occur when a catheter becomes contaminated with bacteria just prior to insertion. In many cases, the bacteria is picked up from the skin of either the patient or the caregiver. Once the catheter is inserted into the bloodstream, this bacteria can spread.

Who is at the highest risk?

Patients who are elderly, young, or already have a compromised immune system are at particular risk, as these factors make them more prone to infection.

Staphylococcus, more commonly known as a Staph, and E. coli are two common types of bacteria that can be introduced through the IV.

Symptoms of infection vary depending on the type of bacteria, but often include inflammation, pain, itching, discharge, fever, and body aches.

How is infection treated?

The usual course of treatment is IV antibiotics. Because so many common bacterias have become antibiotic-resistant, it can take time to get things under control, adding to patient discomfort and hospital time.

Can it be prevented?

Hospitals work hard to prevent infections by following strict infection-control protocols to reduce risk including:

  • Washing their hands
  • Putting on gloves before touching anything that comes in contact with the patient
  • Cleaning the patient’s skin with antiseptics before inserting the cannula

Meanwhile, catheter manufacturers continue to work on antibiotic coatings for cannulas that could further minimize the potential for infection.

Learn more about the benefits and risks of IV antibiotics here.

 

 

References:

Photo Source: http://www.drcarri.com/do-you-have-any-of-these-signs-of-hidden-infections/

Infection Control Measures in IV Drug Administration – https://www.slideshare.net/kholeif/infection-control-measures-in-iv-drug-administration

Infection Control in Intravenous Therapy –  https://books.google.com/books?id=4mRIHiHnOf4C&pg=PA87&lpg=PA87&dq=infection+control+in+intravenous+therapy&source=bl&ots=ExjUlcI3Gw&sig=6cqseQPxAsaow5yItduhIAiujNQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiGqv_PxsvZAhWOrVkKHToOBeg4ChDoAQhmMAk#v=onepage&q=infection%20control%20in%20intravenous%20therapy&f=false

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