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Original Article

J Liaquat Uni Med Health Sci. 2013; 12(2): 109-114

Routine Skin Preparation with 70% Isopropyl Alcohol Swab: Is it Necessary before an Injection? Quasi Study

Rajab Ali Khawaja, Raheel Sikandar, Riaz Qureshi, Rechel Joy M. Jareno.

BACKGROUND: The world is facing economical crises and it has particularly affected third
world countries. Therefore we must review the controversial health related procedures to save
the cost and time without compromising health. The main goal of this study was to assess the
need of skin preparation with 70% isopropyl alcohol swab wiping as an antiseptic measure, to
prevent infections before intramuscular, subcutaneous and intradermal injections.
DESIGN AND METHOD: Quasi experimental design. Microbiological as well as clinical assessment of pre-injection use of alcohol swabs was studied among the patients who need an injection at King Khalid University Hospital, Riyadh from August 2012 – December 2012.
RESULTS: The mean CFU (Colony Forming Units) per ml over the injection site before alcohol
swab wiping were significantly higher (2.47 ± 3.86) than after alcohol swab use (1.31 ± 1.93); p =
0.002. Although, 70% isopropyl alcohol swab reduced skin bacterial counts by 47%, there were
no significant difference in clinical signs and adverse local or systemic effect with or without
skin preparation by alcohol swab before intramuscular, intradermal or subcutaneous injections.
CONCLUSION: Routine skin preparation with alcohol swab before an injection is quite unnecessary and is of no significant value in safeguarding infection. Omitting skin cleaning with alcohol swab prior to an injection would save time and money.

Key words: Skin preparation, Alcohol swab, Skin disinfectant.

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