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Docs May Have Trick Up Their Sleeves Fighting Germs

9 months ago

3189  0
Posted on Nov 13, 2017, 4 p.m.

With antibiotic-resistant "superbugs" continuing to be a threat in U.S. hospitals, doctors are looking for innovative ways to cut down on disease transmission.

“News Flash: Could common sense actually be introduced to hospitals. It’s funny we have to talk about this. We go to hospitals because we are sick. Any measure to stop us from getting sick from going to the hospital the American Academy of Anti-Aging and Preventative Medicine is going to give the Thumbs Up too. If just wearing shorter sleeves is an answer to keeping people healthy and living longer,--- have shorter sleeves on lab coats. It may not cure cancer, but if one life is saved, it’s a step to bringing healthcare back to its glory days when we cared about patients first,” said Dr. Ronald Klatz, President of the A4M, November 6, 2017.

(HealthDay News) -- With antibiotic-resistant "superbugs" continuing to be a threat in U.S. hospitals, doctors are looking for innovative ways to cut down on disease transmission.

Now, research suggests one solution may be within arm's reach -- literally.

Physicians' white coats with sleeves above the elbow were much less likely to have traces of infectious viruses on them than long-sleeved versions, the study found.

"These results provide support for the recommendation that health care personnel wear short sleeves to reduce the risk for pathogen transmission," concluded a team led by Amrita John. She's an infectious disease specialist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland.

According to the team, "physicians' white coats are frequently contaminated, but seldom cleaned."

For that very reason, the United Kingdom already mandates that doctors be "bare below the elbows" as a means of lowering the chance that germs on a dirty coat sleeve will be transmitted to a patient.

But is sleeve length really a factor in the transmission of infections?

To find out, John's group had health care workers wear either short- or long-sleeved white coats while examining a mannequin with surfaces that had been contaminated with a harmless-but-communicable virus.

The workers then went and examined a second mannequin -- replicating normal hospital "rounds" where doctors might visit numerous patients.

The researchers then tested both the sleeves and the wrists of each worker for a certain "DNA marker" that indicated the presence of the virus.

The result: "contamination with the DNA marker was detected significantly more often on the sleeves and/or wrists when personnel wore long- versus short-sleeved coats," the researchers reported.

In fact, while virus was detected on none of the sleeves or wrists of 20 workers wearing the short-sleeved coats, it was found on one-quarter (five out of 20) of those donning long sleeves.

And in one of those cases, the virus had made its way to the second mannequin -- showing how a doctor's sleeve might transmit germs patient-to-patient.

The findings add weight to the recommendation for short-sleeved coats for physicians, the researchers noted.

Dr. Alan Mensch is a pulmonologist and senior vice president of medical affairs at Northwell Health's Syosset Hospital in Syosset, N.Y. Reviewing the findings, he agreed that keeping in-hospital infections to a minimum is crucial.

"Patients come to the hospital to get well, and it is the hospital's duty to accomplish that without causing a new infection," he said.

He called the new findings "intriguing," but said they also raise many questions.

"Though short sleeves may prevent transmission of [viral] DNA, will they decrease infections?" he wondered. And, "Should we advise health care providers to wash their wrists along with their hands -- and will that decrease infection transmission?"

The findings were presented Oct. 4 in San Diego at ID Week, the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Experts note that findings presented at medical meetings are typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

There's more on protecting yourself from infections in the hospital at the National Patient Safety Foundation.

-- E.J. Mundell

SOURCES: Oct. 4, 2017, presentation, ID Week, San Diego; Alan Mensch, M.D., senior vice president, medical affairs, Northwell Health's Plainview and Syosset Hospitals, New York

Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Dr. Ronald Klatz, DO, MD President of the A4M has 28,000 Physician Members, has trained over 150,000 Physicians, health professionals and scientists in the new specialty of Anti-aging medicine. Estimates of their patients numbering in the 100’s of millions World Wide that are living better stronger, healthier and longer lives. www.WorldHealth.net

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