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Neonatal Skin and Chlorhexidine: A Burning Experience

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Purpose: Despite the lack of safety data, chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) is an antiseptic with broadspectrum coverage often used in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Adverse skin reactions, most commonly burns, have been reported after the use of CHG. Preserving skin integrity in preterm infants is vital in the prevention of sepsis, excessive water loss, hypothermia, and renal failure.

Design: This is a case report of two incidents of significant skin burning in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants who were treated with CHG for the purposes of umbilical cord sterilization prior to umbilical line placement.

Sample: This case report of burns associated with CHG in one infant weighing 610 g at birth and a second infant weighing 600 g at birth.

Results: CHG does have a strong association with causing skin burns in the ELBW population; however, wiping the solution off of the skin seems to reduce injury.

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Keywords: chlorhexidine burns; neonatal skin care

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2014

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