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Why are aseptic techniques important?

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Quick Answer

Aseptic techniques in science and health care are important to keep infectious microorganisms from sterile surfaces or tissues. In health care aseptic techniques deter infection when working with patients, while the same techniques prevent contamination of tests or experiments in laboratory work.

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Full Answer

In laboratory work, aseptic techniques are essential to prevent contamination of samples and ruining experiments. In health care settings, however, aseptic techniques save lives. Any time a patient is injured or is in a hospital, he is susceptible to infection from thousands of different bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microorganisms that live naturally on the skin and in hospitals.

There is risk for infection every time the skin is broken, whether intentionally through surgery or unintentionally through injury. During surgery, the surgeons and assistants, the instruments, and even the room are entirely sterilized to prevent the dissemination of microorganisms. The ability or inability to maintain sterility during these procedures is what determines whether or not the paitent develops a post-operation infection. Even minor cuts, burns and scrapes can develop an infection if basic aseptic techniques are not employed quickly and effectively. A common bacteria, C. difficile, causes thousands of deaths each year due to inappropriate use of sterile techniques.

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