We all know health care settings are the perfect hot spot for germs and bacteria to breed. But if you are just fussing over the door knob, the ultrasound sheet or the diagnostic area, the danger is lurking much closer to you. Researchers have revealed in a study that if your doctor uses unhygienic stethoscopes, it can put you at risk of some serious antibiotic resistant bugs.
The research studied re-usable medical equipment that must, at any cost, be disinfected before using again.
But with medical practitioners seeing so many patients in a day, maintaining stethescope hygiene becomes difficult. You’d be surprised to know that the pathogens that can be on the medical equipment range from Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Clostridium difficile, and vancomycin-resistant enterococci that can lead to diseases like UTI, pneumonia and even some skin infections.
According to Linda Greene, President at the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology in Virginia, “Stethoscopes are used repeatedly throughout the day and become contaminated after each patient exposure, so they must be treated as potential vectors of transmission. Failing to disinfect stethoscopes could constitute a serious patient safety issue similar to ignoring hand hygiene.”
This requires a change in culture where stethescope hygiene is made mandatory.