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What Do the Symbols on My Catheter Package Mean?

by Jessica February 12 2014 13:11
Whether you're brand new or a seasoned pro at self-cathing or using ostomy supplies, you probably come in contact with your medical supplies on a regular basis. At some point, you may have looked at the packaging on your catheter supplies to see symbols and numbers.



Do all those unrecognizable symbols on the package make you feel like you're in the dark? 180 Medical can shed light on this situation for you! We love to offer education when and where we can.

When you speak with one of our caring specialists about the best way to prevent a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection), they will discuss what is called sterile or single use (for more on that topic, see our article "5 Ways to Help Reduce UTIs"), and then they may ask you to take a look at your catheter package to find a symbol of a number 2 with a line crossed through it. That symbol means "do not reuse," which indicates the FDA's guidelines that all intermittent catheters are considered sterile-use devices that should be used once and then disposed of.

Depending upon the brand and type of supply, packaging can vary in color, size, length, and shape. But you can always depend on knowing that the symbols are there, because they are regulated by the FDA.

Here are a few of the most common symbols:
 Symbol for "Do not reuse." Single or sterile use only.
   Manufacturer's lot number or batch code. They symbol will be right next to a set of numbers indicating the number of the batch in which this particular supply was produced.
      Indicates the product's reference or item number. Your 180 Medical specialist may ask you to find this number to determine what item you have on hand.
       Manufacturer. This picture will be next to the name and address of the manufacturer.
   Date of manufacture. Next to this symbol, you will see a date with 4 digits indicating the year and 2 following digits indicating the month that this product was produced/manufactured in (YYYY-MM).
  Use By. Next to this small hourglass symbol, you will see the expiration date with 4 digits indicating the year and 2 following digits indicating the month (YYYY-MM).
    By prescription only. U.S. Federal Law restricts this device to sale on order of a physician only.
   Method of sterilization by Ethylene Oxide.
   Method of sterilization using irradiation.
   Method of sterilization using dry heat or steam.
   Not sterilized. You may see this on products such as non-sterile gloves.
   Instructions are available to read or consult.

As always, if you ever have a question about this or anything else regarding your supplies or service with 180 Medical, please feel free to give us a call!

Source for regulated symbols: www.fda.gov


About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for almost 5 years and currently holds the title of Purchasing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company! She loves writing, art, music, and spending time with friends and family.