Come Clean About Hand Washing

Handwashing station. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

There are no disputes washing hands after patient contact with human excretions or blood is necessary. But what about everyday habits such as wearing a white coat or tie? Do you clean your stethoscope? Do these common articles act as fomites for infection?

The EM:RAP podcast and PDF for October 2019: Handwashing by Dan McCollum MD discusses pearls for handwashing, common misperceptions and the concept of a habit loop. Which is better chlorhexidine or betadine? Alcohol foam/rinse or soap and water? Long or short-sleeved clothing? Take a quick listen or read to ramp up your germ-busting habits.

An engraved portrait of Semmelweis: a mustachioed, balding man in formal attire, pictured from the chest up.

Who Knew? Ignaz Semmelweis was a Hungarian physician and scientist who advocated antiseptic procedures in the mid-1800s. His concept of physicians washing their hands as a way to reduce the spread of infection from cadavers conflicted with the established medical society. He was committed to an asylum by a colleague, beaten by the guards and died two weeks later as a result of a gangrenous wound at the age of 47. It would be two decades later when Louis Pasteur confirmed the germ theory that Semmelweis’s theory was widely accepted.

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of