WHO recommends bathing before surgery to prevent surgical infections
People preparing for surgery should always have a bath or shower and not be shaved, a new guideline from the World Health Organisation has said.
According to the new guidelines, this action is aimed at saving lives, preventing infections, cutting costs and arresting the spread of superbugs.
The guidelines, contained in the Global Guidelines for the Prevention of Surgical Site Infection, also advised that antibiotics should only be used to prevent infections before and during surgery, and not afterwards.
A list of 29 concrete recommendations distilled by 20 of the world’s leading experts from 26 reviews of the latest evidence, were also contained in the guidelines published in “The Lancet Infectious Diseases” on Thursday.
According to it, there are also recommended stipulations on the best way for surgical teams to clean their hands, guidance on when to use antibiotics to prevent infections and what disinfectants to use before incision.
WHO said that the move was designed to address the increasing burden of healthcare-associated infections on both patients and healthcare systems globally.
In the publication, Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation, said: “No one should get sick while seeking or receiving care.
Kieny said: “Preventing surgical infections has never been more important, but it is complex and requires a range of preventive measures.”
According to WHO, surgical site infections are caused by bacteria that get in through incisions made during surgery.
He said: “They threaten the lives of millions of patients each year and contribute to the spread of antibiotic resistance.
“In low and middle income countries, 11 per cent of patients who undergo surgery are infected in the process.
“In Africa, up to 20 per cent of women who have a caesarean section contract a wound infection, compromising their own health and their ability to care for their babies.”
Also, Dr. Ed Kelley, the Director, WHO’s Department of Service Delivery and Safety, said: “Sooner or later many of us will need surgery, but none of us wants to pick up an infection on the operating table.
Kelley said: “By applying these new guidelines, surgical teams can reduce harm, improve quality of life, and do their bit to stop the spread of antibiotic resistance.
“We also recommend that patients preparing for surgery ask their surgeons whether they are following WHO’s advice.”
The new WHO guidelines are valid for any country suitable to local adaptations and complement WHO’s popular Surgical Safety Checklist.