Home E-Weekly May 23, 2017

Warm Weather Increases SSI Risk

Published: May 22, 2017

WARMING TREND SSIs are more common in August and less likely in January.

Make sure your infection control practices are dialed in during the dog days of summer, suggests new research, which says risk of surgical site infections increases when temperatures soar into the 90s.

Researchers from the University of Iowa compared hospital discharges following treatment of SSIs between 1998 to 2011 with monthly temperatures, rainfall totals and wind averages. The findings, published in the journal Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, show incidences of post-op infections peaked in August and were lowest in January. There were 26.5% more cases of SSIs in August, according to the study.

The researchers note hospitalizations for treatment of SSIs increased by 2% for every 5-degree increase in average monthly temperature. They say infection risks increased by 29% when temperatures soured above 90 degrees, but jumped by only 4.4% when temperatures dipped below 40 degrees. The association between higher temperatures and increased risk of SSIs was consistent, regardless of the age, sex and gender of patients, the procedure type, and the geographical regional where the surgeries took place.

Although the researchers did not determine why infection risks were higher during warmer months, they say their study could serve as a jumping-off point for further investigations that could identify which patients are at increased risk when the mercury rises.

Daniel Cook

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