Figure 1-4. Circulating nurse "flipping" sterile suture material
from a suture packet onto the back table.
i. Sterile areas should be protected from moisture because a moist item may
become contaminated. When moisture soaks through a sterile area to an unsterile one,
or vice versa, a means of transporting infectious organisms to the sterile area is
provided. Therefore, the OR specialist should observe the following rules of practice.
(1) Sterile packages should be laid on dry areas.
(2) If any portion of a sterile package becomes damp or wet, the entire
package should be discarded.
(3) If a sterile package falls on the floor, it is considered unsterile.
(4) Linen packages from the sterilizer should be permitted to cool before
being stored on shelves. This procedure prevents their becoming damp from steam
(5) Sterile drapes should be placed on a dry surface. (Thus, time should
be allowed for the prep solution used to paint the patient's skin to dry before draping is
(6) During surgery, if a solution soaks through a sterile area from an
unsterile one or through an unsterile area from a sterile one, the wet area should be
covered with another sterile drape.