Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Triad Alcohol Prep Pads, Alcohol Swabs, and Alcohol Swabsticks: Recall Due to Potential Microbial Contamination



If you use individually wrapped alcohol prep pads to wipe IV sites, then this is something that may apply to you. We are supposed to be cleaning the skin to prevent bacteria from getting into the blood. with these, there is the possibility that we will be providing more bacteria, rather than removing bacteria.

The affected items are individually wrapped and sold in boxes of 100.

The problem is possible contamination with Bacillus cereus.

The affected Alcohol Prep Pads, Alcohol Swabs and Alcohol Swabsticks can be identified by either “Triad Group,” listed as the manufacturer, or the products are manufactured for a third party and use the names listed below in their packaging: Cardinal Health, PSS Select, VersaPro, Boca/ Ultilet, Moore Medical, Walgreens, CVS, Conzellin.[1]

Usually, B. cereus is a food borne infection causing intestinal problems, so it is probably much less pleasant in the blood stream.[2]

The names to look for are –

Triad

Cardinal Health

PSS Select

VersaPro

Boca/ Ultilet

Moore Medical

Walgreens

CVS

Conzellin

Footnotes:

[1] Triad Alcohol Prep Pads, Alcohol Swabs, and Alcohol Swabsticks: Recall Due to Potential Microbial Contamination
Sold by Cardinal Health, PSS Select, VersaPro, Boca/Ultilet, Moore Medical, Walgreens, CVS, Conzellin

[Posted 01/06/2011]
FDA (Food and Drug Administration)
Safety Alert

[2] Bacillus cereus
Wikipedia
Article

.

Comments

  1. These things are useless. I’m not an EMT, but I am a diabetic. Diabetics have known for ages that all the alcohol wipes do is smear the dirt [and bugs] around. Studies (which of course I now can’t find, grumble) have shown that there’s not enough alcohol in them to do any real cleaning or disinfecting.

    What instead? Those single packet clean-wipes (like the “moist towellettes” the BBQ joints give you 🙂 have just enough soap in ’em to actually do some cleaning. It doesn’t give the illusion of “disinfecting” that the alcohol pads do, but that’s all it is — an illusion.

    I don’t know why the medical world hasn’t caught onto this. I suspect a conspiracy from the alcohol pad makers! 🙂

    • Amen,
      We finally switched over from alcohol to Chloraprep swabs. Now those, those will kill nasty buggers.

      • We use Chloraprep as well, as included in our start kits. However, for IM injections we still use alcohol prep pads on our truck.

      • Can’t say, clowns will eat me,

        Amen,
        We finally switched over from alcohol to Chloraprep swabs. Now those, those will kill nasty buggers.

        It would be nice if I could use something more than alcohol, but nobody I know of in the Philadelphia area uses anything else. I am sure there are some places that do use something else, but I don’t recall working for anyone, or with anyone who uses more than just alcohol.

        Coincidentally, I was responsible for having one of my employers kicked eliminated from the response order to the next town over, because one of their EMTs spiked a line for me, took the cap off the end of the tubing, and placed it on the lap of the patient.

        When I pointed out that I cannot use the line, because it is now contaminated, the EMT became upset and said that that’s the way all of their medics do things.

        I responded that I am not responsible for the incompetence of their medics, but I also will not use dirty IV tubing. The only thing dirtier than EMS politics may be the IV tubing used by some people in EMS.

    • Moose,

      These things are useless. I’m not an EMT, but I am a diabetic. Diabetics have known for ages that all the alcohol wipes do is smear the dirt [and bugs] around. Studies (which of course I now can’t find, grumble) have shown that there’s not enough alcohol in them to do any real cleaning or disinfecting.

      They aren’t entirely useless, but the combination of alcohol pad and vigorous scrubbing, followed by a repeat with a fresh alcohol pad, and then a clean swipe with a third alcohol pad can be effective. OTOH, how often do you see that? 😉

      What instead? Those single packet clean-wipes (like the “moist towellettes” the BBQ joints give you 🙂 have just enough soap in ‘em to actually do some cleaning. It doesn’t give the illusion of “disinfecting” that the alcohol pads do, but that’s all it is — an illusion.

      The restaurant wipes would be nice. we might even follow them with the warm towels used in the Teppanyaki restaurants. 🙂

      I don’t know why the medical world hasn’t caught onto this. I suspect a conspiracy from the alcohol pad makers! 🙂

      Shhh! Don’t tell, but the character played by Maria Bello in Thank You for Smoking is based on me. 😉

      • One of the reasons the American Diabetes Association now discourages the use of alcohol for cleaning injection sites is because alcohol dries the skin. Dry skin cracks, cracked skin is more likely to get bacteria inside of it.

        So now imagine you’ve put in an IV line into someone’s skin after scrubbing it with alcohol. The skin dries out and cracks and becomes inflamed and infected.

        OK, ok, I know,the lines you put in don’t rarely stay in that long. (In all my hospital stays I never had a non-PICC line stay in for longer than a day, and I have -great- veins.)

        But, seriously, I suspect that one of the real reasons alcohol pads continue to get used is because they’re so cheap. I can get a box of 100 at Kroger for a couple of bucks; I’m sure you guys get them wholesale in massive bulk even cheaper.

        • Moose,

          One of the reasons the American Diabetes Association now discourages the use of alcohol for cleaning injection sites is because alcohol dries the skin. Dry skin cracks, cracked skin is more likely to get bacteria inside of it.

          Yes, alcohol does dry out skin. Washing with soap and water dries out skin. Cleaning the skin dries out skin.

          The alcohol-based hand cleaners used in hospitals are actually supposed to decrease the damage to the skin due to repeatedly washing the hands. This is in spite of containing a significant amount of alcohol.

          So now imagine you’ve put in an IV line into someone’s skin after scrubbing it with alcohol. The skin dries out and cracks and becomes inflamed and infected.

          The drying of the skin is not an immediate effect, similar to the special effects seen in science fiction/horror movies. This is more of a cumulative effect. The choice of IV site is going to depend on the condition of the skin at the site. A recent IV stick is going to make the site less appealing. By the time the vein has recovered from the needle, the skin should have long since recovered from the drying due to alcohol.

          The much greater concern is the introduction of staphylococcus bacteria, that covers our skin (even the skin of OCD cleaners), into the bloodstream.

          OK, ok, I know,the lines you put in don’t rarely stay in that long. (In all my hospital stays I never had a non-PICC line stay in for longer than a day, and I have -great- veins.)

          IVs usually have to be replaced at least every three days, or when there are signs of infection at the IV site.

          But, seriously, I suspect that one of the real reasons alcohol pads continue to get used is because they’re so cheap. I can get a box of 100 at Kroger for a couple of bucks; I’m sure you guys get them wholesale in massive bulk even cheaper.

          I agree.

          There probably are much more effective ways of cleaning the skin, but as long as we can get away with the cheapest way of doing things, many of us will.

          We rationalize away the negative possibilities.

          We are biased in favor of the status quo.

          • Yeah, sorry, I wasn’t really very serious about the whole drying of the skin -> infection thing. But I was about the cost.

            In the computer world we say “Cheap, Fast, Effective: Pick two” but that applies in many other places, too.

            • Moose,

              Yeah, sorry, I wasn’t really very serious about the whole drying of the skin -> infection thing. But I was about the cost.

              I know that cost has a lot to do with it, but we need to have some sort of readily accepted evidence of harm to show that the more expensive version is worth the extra cost.

              In the computer world we say “Cheap, Fast, Effective: Pick two” but that applies in many other places, too.

              I generally see that referred to as the Engineering Triangle or the Project Triangle.

  2. Ok, now I’m freaked out about this whole alchol thing. I’m a diabetic and I found out I had a bunch of the recalled alcohol wipes. I am NOT going to use anymore. I decided to buy a bottle of the liquid alcohol instead. forget the wipes. I’m not taking any chances. that’s not very expensive either.

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