Tips and Advice for a Hygienic Cathing Routine
When using an intermittent catheter, it is important to remember hygiene is key in helping to reduce the risk of infections. You may already have your cathing technique perfected, but here are some tips and advice to help keep your self-cathing routine clean and hygienic:
- Effective hand-washing. Proper hand washing is essential. It can help prevent contamination of your intermittent catheter and the spread of infectious bacteria when being inserted into your urethra, potentially reducing the risk of Urinary Tract Infections. When washing your hands be sure to:
- Wet hands with running water
- Apply soap and lather. Rub your fingers and hands together for at least 20 seconds.
- Rinse and dry your hands with a clean towel
- Practice personal hygiene. In addition to washing your hands, prior to insertion, be sure to cleanse your genital area with mild, fragrance-free soap or pre-moistened wipes.
- Only touch what needs to be touched. Catheters like GentleCath Hydrophilic and GentleCath Glide come with a handling sleeve to help reduce contamination on the catheter tube. Utilize this sleeve to keep the catheter as sterile as possible, and only touch the body parts needed to self-cath. If you touch the door, toilet or wheelchair, use anti-bacterial gel or re-wash your hands prior to cathing.
- Do not reuse your intermittent catheter. Intermittent catheters are considered a single-use device. They should only be used once and then discarded.
- Do not try to clean your catheter after use. While this may seem like an easy solution, this practice makes the risk of UTIs more likely.
- Ensure your environment is clean before you self-cath. Whether cathing in the comfort of your own home or in a public restroom, use anti-bacterial wipes to clean surfaces or counter space before you start the cathing process.
- Use additional supplies. Sometimes catheters come with insertion supplies such as disposable gloves, an under pad, or an antiseptic wipe. These items can help keep your hands and cathing environment clean.