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1. a medium, e.g., water, vapor, sand, or mud, with which the body is washed or in which the body is wholly or partially immersed for therapeutic or cleansing purposes; application of such a medium to the body.
2. the equipment or apparatus in which a body or object may be immersed.
bed bath the cleansing of a patient in bed. A complete bed bath indicates that someone must totally wash a patient, as is done with an unconscious patient. A partial bed bath is one in which the patient is not totally dependent but is given a basin, soap, and water, as well as any assistance needed to maintain good hygiene.
bath blanket a flannel covering used to prevent chilling when administering a bed bath.
colloid bath a medicated bath prepared by adding soothing agents to the bath water such as gelatin, starch, or bran in order to relieve skin irritation and itching. The patient is dried by patting rather than rubbing the skin. Care must be taken to avoid chilling.
contrast bath alternate immersion of a part in hot water and cold water.
cool bath one in water from 18° to 24°C (65° to 75°F).
emollient bath a bath in a soothing and softening liquid, used in various skin disorders.
lukewarm bath warm bath.
oatmeal bath a colloid bath containing oatmeal, used for treatment of dermatoses to soothe the skin and relieve itching.
paraffin bath the dipping of a limb into a warm solution of paraffin, or the brushing of paraffin onto the skin, to provide pain relief and increase mobility.
sitz bath immersion of only the hips and buttocks, done to relieve pain and discomfort following rectal surgery, cystoscopy, or vaginal surgery; sitz baths also may be ordered for patients with cystitis or infections in the pelvic cavity. Temperature for a hot sitz bath is started at 35°C (95°F) and gradually increased to 40 to 43°C (104° to 110°F). The patient must be watched for fatigue and faintness, and an attendant must remain within calling distance. Cool compresses to the head or cool drinks during the bath promote comfort and relieve faintness.
sponge bath one in which the patient's body is not immersed but is wiped with a wet cloth or sponge; this is most often done for reduction of body temperature in presence of fever, in which case the water used is cool.
tepid bath one in water 24° to 33°C (75° to 92°F).
warm bath one in water just under body temperature, 33° to 37°C (92° to 98°F).
whirlpool bath one in which the water is kept in constant motion by mechanical means and has a massaging action that can promote improved circulation and relaxation; often used in the treatment of soft tissue injuries and management of open wounds such as burns.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.