Bacteria can complicate medical conditions and cause death, in some instances; in fact, it increases the risk of morbidity from infection 20 times, which makes it a very dangerous consequence. Those individuals with catheters are even more at risk, and there are some very practical things that you should do to reduce your odds of contracting a bacterial infection.
Some ways to prevent and fight off infection are:
Know what to look for. The signs of an infection are not always clear; it could be something as benign as a slight temperature and simply not feeling well, to more severe symptoms such as vomiting or fatigue. When you use a catheter, be sure to notify your doctor if you notice any signs of possible infection- even if you currently feel fine.
Some signs of an infection include:
- Feeling shaky.
- Elevated temperature.
- Leaking around the catheter.
- Cloudy urine output.
- Blood in the urine.
- Pain when urinating.
- Difficulty passing urine.
- Decreased urine output.
Drink plenty of water. Those with urinary catheters are encouraged to drink at least three-liters of water a day to prevent urinary tract infections, or UTIs. UTIs are common, and can be treated with antibiotics though it is important to catch it as early as possible to avoid potential medical complications.
Keep the site clean. Make sure to keep the insertion site for your catheter clean and as sterile as possible. Femoral vein catheters are more often the site of infection though those wearing urinary catheters will see a spike in incidence of urinary tract infections. Regardless of your medical condition, it is imperative to keep the catheter site clean and dry.
Consider coated catheters. Some medical companies are now disseminating antibiotic coated catheters to help ward-off potential infection. These provide a safety net against potential bacteria that can sneak-in at the catheter insertion site. Speak with your provider to determine if this is a viable option for you.
Make a smart choice. Technology has given the medical field smart-catheters, which predict and detect infection for those wearing these devices. These are user-friendly and allow for providers to closely monitor their patients, at any time.
Catheters require care and cleaning to ensure they are not a source of bacteria, which can lead to infection. For those with urinary or subcutaneous catheters, this can be a dangerous situation. Use these tips to reduce your chance of infection when wearing a catheter. Talk to your medical provider at a place like Idaho Arthritis Center for more information on keeping your source of infusion safe.