Document Detail

Does bathing newborns remove potentially harmful pathogens from the skin?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  11552963     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: Newborn infants are routinely bathed after birth partly to reduce the possibility of transmitting potential pathogens to others. The extent to which a mild soap reduces the quantity and type of microbes found on the skin through normal colonization has not been reported. The objective of the study was to compare colonization rates between infants bathed in soap and water and infants bathed in plain water. METHOD: One hundred and forty infants were randomly assigned to one group bathed in a mild pH neutral soap and water or to another group bathed in water alone. Microbiology swabs were taken on three occasions (before the first bath, 1 hour after the bath, and 24 hours after birth) from two sites (anterior fontanelle and umbilical area). RESULTS: No difference occurred between groups on type or quantity of organisms found at each time period. Skin colonization is a function of time, and the quantity of organisms identified increased over time (Friedman A 2 = 111.379, df = 5, p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Bathing with mild soap as opposed to bathing in water alone has minimal effect on skin bacterial colonization. Skin colonization increased over time. The findings did not support the efficacy of bathing with soap and water to reduce skin colonization of bacterial pathogens. Although the incidence of potential pathogens colonizing the skin during the first day of life is low and unlikely to pose a risk to healthy newborns, health care professionals may wish to wear gloves until the infant has been bathed.
J M Medves; B O'Brien
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Clinical Trial; Journal Article; Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Birth (Berkeley, Calif.)     Volume:  28     ISSN:  0730-7659     ISO Abbreviation:  Birth     Publication Date:  2001 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2001-09-12     Completed Date:  2001-10-25     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8302042     Medline TA:  Birth     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  161-5     Citation Subset:  IM    
School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, Queen's University, 90 Barrie Street, Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6, Canada.
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MeSH Terms
Bacterial Infections / prevention & control*,  transmission
Colony Count, Microbial
Infant Care*
Infant, Newborn
Skin / microbiology*
Soaps / therapeutic use*
Reg. No./Substance:

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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