A6. Asepsis and antisepsis, nosocomial infections

Last updated on September 10, 2021 at 17:55

Asepsis and antisepsis

Asepsis refers to a state where there are no microorganisms. Aseptic techniques are those aimed at minimising infection, which is very important in surgery. This includes the use of a sterile room, gloves, gowns, caps, proper hand washing and hygiene beforehand, and the use of sterile instruments.

Antisepsis refers to the procedure or application of antiseptic solution to disinfect an area, most commonly a skin. This is also very important in surgery and involves disinfecting the surgical area before the incision. Commonly used antiseptics in surgery include chlorhexidine, iodine compounds, and alcohols.

Hungarians love the fact that Ignaz Semmelweis introduced the concepts of antisepsis to obstetrics. He introduced the idea of washing hands in chlorinated lime between an autopsy and the examination of patients, which reduced the rate of puerperal fever by 90%. This earned him the nickname of “saviour of mothers”. Of note, Semmelweis was vilified by the medical community at the time for his theory, eventually suffered a nervous breakdown, was admitted to an asylum, beaten by the guards, and died of the injuries only a few days later.

Nosocomial infection

I don’t have anything to add here which wasn’t covered in anaesthesia or public health.


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