Dousing patients in antiseptic curbs infections
The Associated Press
Condensed by Native Village

Every year, 30,000,000 surgical procedures are done in the U.S. While health care workers take care to "de-germ" before surgery, up to 500,000 patients still develop surgical-site infections. Some infections are fatal.

New studies are showing dramatic ways to cut those infections rates before surgery. They are:

Giving patients an antiseptic bath;
Squirting medicated ointment up their noses;
Swabbing the skin with antiseptic instead of iodine.

“A lot of people think it’s all from the outside world, but these are your own germs,” said Dr. Robert Weinstein, an infectious disease expert .

In the Netherlands, the antiseptic prep has cut infection rates by 40%. When combined with the nasal spray, infection rates were cut by 60%. The treatment also helped shorten one's hospital stay

“This is the single most effective way of preventing surgical-site infections,” said researcher Dr. Henri Verbrugh.

 While the antiseptic costs more -- about $12.00 vs. $3.00 for iodine -- the expense saves thousands of dollars by reducing costly health problems and one's hospital stay.

Doctors say patients should ask about infection rates connected with their hospital and doctor.

Prevention guidelines call for patients to get antibiotics right before surgery and for hair to be clipped, not shaved.