Time for docs to ditch the white coat? - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Time for docs to ditch the white coat?

Updated: Jan 21, 2014 02:59 PM
© iStockphoto.com / Claude Dagenais © iStockphoto.com / Claude Dagenais
  • HealthMore>>

  • The 'Hobby Lobby ruling' and what it means for U.S. health care

    The 'Hobby Lobby ruling' and what it means for U.S. health care

    The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on contraception coverage -- as mandated under the Affordable Care Act -- could lead to a legal quagmire that might allow companies to deny insurance coverage for any medical practice that violates their religious principles.
    The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on contraception coverage -- as mandated under the Affordable Care Act -- could lead to a legal quagmire that might allow companies to deny insurance coverage for any medical practice that violates their religious principles.
  • Diet changes can alter gut bacteria

    Diet changes can alter gut bacteria

    Dietary changes can dramatically alter the balance of bacteria in the gut on a daily basis, according to a new study.
    Dietary changes can dramatically alter the balance of bacteria in the gut on a daily basis, according to a new study.
  • Lift U.S. ban on blood donations by gay men

    Lift U.S. ban on blood donations by gay men

    The United States should repeal a 30-year policy that bans blood donations from gay and bisexual men, according to a team of medical and legal experts writing this week in the Journal of the American Medical...
    The United States should repeal a 30-year policy that bans blood donations from gay and bisexual men, according to a team of medical and legal experts writing this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
  • Latest Health NewsThe Latest from HealthDayMore>>

  • The 'Hobby Lobby ruling' and what it means for U.S. health care

    The 'Hobby Lobby ruling' and what it means for U.S. health care

    The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on contraception coverage -- as mandated under the Affordable Care Act -- could lead to a legal quagmire that might allow companies to deny insurance coverage for any medical practice that violates their religious principles.
    The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on contraception coverage -- as mandated under the Affordable Care Act -- could lead to a legal quagmire that might allow companies to deny insurance coverage for any medical practice that violates their religious principles.
  • Diet changes can alter gut bacteria

    Diet changes can alter gut bacteria

    Dietary changes can dramatically alter the balance of bacteria in the gut on a daily basis, according to a new study.
    Dietary changes can dramatically alter the balance of bacteria in the gut on a daily basis, according to a new study.
  • Lift U.S. ban on blood donations by gay men

    Lift U.S. ban on blood donations by gay men

    The United States should repeal a 30-year policy that bans blood donations from gay and bisexual men, according to a team of medical and legal experts writing this week in the Journal of the American Medical...
    The United States should repeal a 30-year policy that bans blood donations from gay and bisexual men, according to a team of medical and legal experts writing this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

TUESDAY, Jan. 21, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Could a doctor's white coat or necktie help spread germs among patients?

The jury's still out on that question. But one of the world's leading infection control organizations is raising that possibility under just-released germ control recommendations.

"White coats, neckties, and wrist watches can become contaminated and may potentially serve as vehicles to carry germs from one patient to another," Dr. Mark Rupp, one of the authors of the recommendations issued Jan. 20 by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, said in a society news release.

"However, it is unknown whether white coats and neckties play any real role in transmission of infection," added Rupp, chief of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. "Until better data are available, hospitals and doctor's offices should first concentrate on well-known ways to prevent transmission of infection -- like hand hygiene, environmental cleaning, and careful attention to insertion and care of invasive devices like vascular [blood vessel] catheters."

Additional infection prevention measures could include limiting the use of white coats and neckties, or at least making sure they are frequently laundered, the society said.

"As these measures are unproven, they should be regarded as voluntary and if carried out, should be accompanied by careful educational programs," Rupp said. "There is a need for education because the public, as well as health professionals, regard the white coat as a symbol of professionalism and competence. In the future, patients may see their health professionals wearing scrubs -- without white coats, ties, rings, or watches."

Here is a full list of the recommendations that appear in the February online issue of the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology:

Keep arms bare below the elbows, which is defined as wearing short sleeves and no wristwatch, jewelry, or ties.
Health care workers should have two or more white coats available and have access to easy and cheap ways to launder white coats.
Coat hooks should be available so health care workers can take off their white coats before contact with patients or their immediate surroundings.
Any clothing that comes in contact with patients or their immediate surroundings should be laundered frequently. If laundered at home, a hot water wash cycle (ideally with bleach) followed by a cycle in the dryer or ironing has been shown to eliminate bacteria.
All footwear should have closed toes, low heels, and non-skid soles.
Shared equipment such as stethoscopes should be cleaned between use on different patients.
Items such as lanyards, identification tags and sleeves, cell phones, pagers, and jewelry that come into direct contact with patients or their surroundings should be disinfected, replaced, or eliminated.

Each year in the United States, there are 1.7 million hospital-acquired infections and 99,000 associated deaths, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More information

The National Patient Safety Foundation outlines what you can do to protect yourself from infections in the hospital.

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
Powered by WorldNow

310 Broadway
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

FCC Public File
publicfile@kfvs12.com
573-335-1212
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KFVS12. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.