Is one method of pre-injection skin prep better or more sterile than others? What is the best way to prevent infection?—JESSIE CHAMPLIN, RPA-C, Cooperstown, N.Y.

No controlled studies exist, but the standard of care is to use an alcohol-based solution to cleanse the skin before intramuscular, intradermal, or subcutaneous injection, as well as before venipuncture for nonsterile specimens. An iodine-based solution should be used before injecting a joint space or obtaining blood for culture.—Reuben W. Zimmerman, PA-C (137-1)