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Principles of Surgical Asepsis

  1. A sterile object remains sterile only when touched by another sterile object.

    • Sterile touching sterile remains sterile.

    • Sterile touching clean becomes contaminated.

    • Sterile touching contaminated becomes contaminated.

    • Sterile touching questionable is contaminated.

    • Only sterile objects may be placed on a sterile field.

  2. A sterile object or field out of range of vision, or an object held below a person's waist, is contaminated.

  3. Never turn your back on a sterile field.

  4. A sterile object or field becomes contaminated by prolonged exposure to air.

  5. When a sterile surface comes in contact with a wet, contaminated surface, the object or field becomes contaminated by capillary action.

  6. Always hold your hands above the level of your elbows.

  7. The edges of a sterile field or container are considered contaminated.