Come Clean About Hand Washing
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.
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.