Don’t Hug Your Doctor: How Bacterial Infection Spreads

October 2, 2012

Studies show overwhelmingly that what doctors, nurses, and other caregivers wear can easily spread bacterial infection, particularly since, when polled, many confessed to not often washing their scrubs or jackets between shifts (and sometimes as little as once a month!).

Besides superbugs like MRSA (antibiotic resistant staph infection) spreading, harder to kill bacteria, like C. diff infection, (which can cause nausea, vomiting, and be deadly to those with weakened immune systems), is also spreading outside of hospitals far more than was previously thought—and it’s been largely traced to medical outfits like scrubs.

C. diff. requires bleach to kill, so when it winds up in restaurants and other public places, chances are it will stay there for a while. It’s a good reminder why you should wash your hands frequently when in public places, and especially before touching your mouth/nose/eyes!

Luckily, many hospitals are changing policies to combat the spread of bacterial infection. Hospital acquired infections kill hundreds of thousands a year, but wearing a disposable apron or implementing new hospital policies (not wearing scrubs home, washing scrubs for staph) can cut that down by half or better.

Patients and visitors should also consider changing their clothes when they get home from the hospital to avoid bringing antibiotic resistant bacteria into their homes.

Does your local hospital have policies to stop the spread of bacterial infection? Share your thoughts below!

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