umbilical cord cleansingIn medical centers with low-resource reserves, cleansing the umbilical cord with chlorhexidine is used to reduce mortality rates. Researchers from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences recently published a study in The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal discussing the impact of whole body cleansing as a means of additional mortality protection.

Researchers searched for completed studies revealing the impact of chlorhexidine washing on neonatal mortality rates. Two before/after studies and seven randomized studies were included in the report. All infants were cleansed with a single chlorhexidine wash.

Conclusion: After pooling information and results from all nine studies, researchers found no reduction in neonatal mortality rate when whole body cleansing with chlorhexidine was used. At this point, umbilical cord cleansing is a proven intervention in low-resource areas, but whole body washing provides not such benefit.

Source: Sankar MJ, Paul VK. Efficacy and Safety of Whole Body Skin Cleansing with Chlorhexidine in Neonates - A Systemic Review. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2013 Jan 21.

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