Umbilical cord care


The aim of this study is to compare the use of Beniktol spray and alcohol swab for cord care in our unit. Over a 6-month period (November 2001 to April 2002), all infants whose parents signed the consent form, were enrolled in the study. The nurse randomly used either Beniktol spray or alcohol swab for the baby’s cord care. It was a prospective study designed to compare cord separation time, and the presence of stump discharge, bad smell, cellulititis or sepsis that necessitated admission. Telephone calls were made to the mothers by our nurse on days 7, 14, 21 or until the cord fell off. Seventy six infants completed the study 38 in alcohol group and 38 in Beniktol group. Infants in the alcohol group had a shorter time for cord separation by 2.5 days compared with the Beniktol group (P<0.01). There were no significant differences between the two groups concerning the other parameters. The use of alcohol alone appears to be safe and cost-effective for cord care in our nursery.

The assistant nurse randomly allocated the infants at birth to two groups. Babies received Isopropyl alcohol 70% swab in one group and Beniktol spray (Nebacetin with Neomycin sulfate 1083.3 IU and Bacitracin 83.3 IU as the active ingredient) in the other group for the cord-care. The family was informed about the study protocol before delivery, their permission was ensured, and they agreed to follow the study protocol. After delivery, a baby was as-signed to Beniktol spray or alcohol swab based on the month of delivery. The starting point was determined by draw in which alcohol swab was the point of start. Record was kept regarding mode of delivery, sex of the child, presence of jaundice, Apgar score, discharge medication and type of cord-care. The assistant nurse was instructed to call the family at 1, 2, 3 and 4 weeks or until the cord separated whichever came first. The information collected from mothers included: number of days for cord separa-tion, presence of smell, redness or discharge around the cord and any complications including sepsis. The data were analyzed using SPSS software package. Chi-square and student “t” test were used as tests of significance at 5% level. Ninety-five percent confidence intervals for the means were used to present data.

Care with alcohol swab resulted in a significantly shorter time of umbilical cord separation than with Beniktol spray. In my opinion it should be recommended for umbilical cord care in our community because it is safe, cost-effective and easy to use.

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