How To Avoid Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
The first and most important method to avoiding a UTI is to ensure you are washing your hands before and after cathing to reduce the risk of spreading bacteria from your hands on to your catheter.
Using a perineal cleanser gets rid of urine and feces by cleaning the perineum area of all skin irritants.
For women, it is important to wipe front to back, ensuring you do not contaminate your urethral opening with bacteria from your rectal area.
Never use a catheter more than once. If the catheter is placed incorrectly (especially for women) do not reuse and get a new one.
Cath at recommended times per day to keep the bladder as empty as possible.
When using lubricant, ensure the catheter is completely covered to avoid excoriations (small tears or cuts) in the urethra that would allow the introduction of bacteria into the urethra.
Avoid touching the tip of the catheter where bacteria could be introduced onto the catheter before insertion.
Signs and Symptoms of a UTI
Strong urge to urinate.
Burning sensation when urinating.
Passing small, frequent amounts of urine.
Urine that appears cloudy, has a strong odor, or appears red or bright pink in color.
For women, pelvic pain is common.
May have a fever.
Spinal cord injury patients may experience autonomic dysreflexia (this can be life threatening).
Changes in vision.
Face, neck, or shoulder flushing/splotchy skin.
Slow heart rate.