These tips for infection control for trachs will help prevent lung infections from bacteria and other organisms that can be a problem for your child with a trach. Many children who have a trach are at risk for respiratory infections and extra precautions need to be in place. Your doctor and respiratory therapist will go over ways to care for your child and his or her trach. Use these tips as a reminder and to help you develop the best practices to care for your child.

Keeping Suction Catheters Clean

Many families find they are unable to provide their children with a new sterile catheter each time they suction their child. You can reuse the catheter if you can keep it clean and dry. Use sterile water or distilled water to flush the catheter. Never use tap water. One of the best methods to keep the catheter clean and dry is to store it between uses in a large gallon size freezer bag. Place an absorbent cloth in the bottom of the bag to catch drippings and hang the bag between uses. You can conceal the bag inside a fabric bag if you like and hang it from your child’s bed or wheel chair.

Cleaning The Stoma

The Stoma (opening hole) should be cleaned at least daily. If you use gauze, it should be changed frequently. Moist gauze can cause skin irritations and is a breeding ground for bacteria. You can apply an over-the-counter antibiotic cream to the stoma to further prevent infections. Your doctor or respiratory therapist will go over basic stoma care with you.

Changing The Trach

You will change the trach at least weekly. Your doctor or therapist will change it for you the first time, showing you how it is done. Adapters and other parts should be cleaned weekly and replaced every two weeks

Cleaning The Trach and Trach Parts

Follow these guidelines for infection control for trachs: Clean the trach, trach parts, adapters and extensions with mild soap and water. You can use tap water but make sure you sterilize the parts after washing them. Below are two methods to sterilize the parts:

  1. You can soak the parts in a vinegar wash. Simply add a tablespoon of vinegar to a quart of sterilized or distilled water. Soak the parts in this solution for 1 hour. This will remove any bacteria that could cause infection.
  2. You can also buy a baby bottle sanitizer. It works quite well and most baby bottle sanitizers come with a basket that your parts and trach will fit into perfectly. Follow the directions on the sanitizer to achieve the best results.
  3. RN Registered Nurse – A registered nurse has a BSN and can perform all duties as well as start an IV and write a treatment plan.
    After you sterilize the parts, allow plenty of time (around 12 hours) for the parts to completely air dry. Moisture on the parts or in the storage containers can grow bacteria or mold. Store the sterilized parts in a gallon freezer bag or a plastic storage container. Using a storage bag eliminates the necessity of keeping the storage container sanitized.

Trach Ties

If you use trach ties make sure you change them daily. You can hand wash the trach tie with antibacterial soap and allow it to air dry completely. A moist tie will irritate the skin and could cause infection. It may be necessary to change the ties more often as needed.

Infection Control For Tachs

Use precaution when you handle the trach or trach parts. Wash your hands thoroughly and keep plenty of hand sanitizer close by. Make sure your child is not around people who are sick or could be carrying an infection. Be careful to remind doctors, therapist, family and friends that your child has a higher risk of respiratory infections and have them avoid visiting when they are sick. If you have questions about infection control for trachs or how to care for your child’s trach call RSVP Home Care. A respiratory therapist is always available to answer your call.