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Scrub a dub dub: Tips for bacteria-free days

The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists issued a statement recently, calling for limited mobile phone usage during patient care.

And with good reason.

Mobile phones have been found to be prime bacteria transmission devices. A study published in 2008 in the Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials unveiled that a whopping 94.5% of mobile phones were contaminated with bacteria of an assorted variety, including ceftazidime and methicillin resistant organisms.

There are plenty of other areas in your life that could probably use a hygiene tune-up as well. Start looking at some of your habits more critically to see if there are ways to make your days as bacteria free as possible.

Mobile phones

What to do about smart phones that aren’t smart enough to disinfect themselves? Wipe them down with some electronic-friendly wipes. Try to avoid using your phone while at work as much as possible. If you do use it for clinical needs, excellent hand hygiene will be as essential as ever.


Rings provide safe harbor for bacteria. Plus alcohol-based hand cleansers create buildup. Ideally, don’t wear rings on the job. You can pin them to your scrubs (but don’t wash them before removing!) or wear them on a chain around your neck. If you don’t want to remove your rings, make sure to clean them well after every shift to avoid bacterial build-up.

Hand Hygiene

We all know good hand washing is the number one barrier to transmission of infection, but everyone can use a good reminder now and again. According to the CDC guidelines for healthcare workers, washing with an alcohol-based hand rub or antimicrobial soap is preferred for best hand washing practice. It never hurts to review your 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene and to devote at least 15 seconds for scrubbing when using soap and water.

Your 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene, World Health Organization


If you travel to and from work with your stethoscope, make sure to wipe it down before placing it in your bag. And don’t forget to clean between patients! In this study, only 21% of respondents reported cleaning their stethoscope from one patient to the next. Nurses reported the highest frequency. (No surprise there!) But given that one-third of the stethoscopes cultured came back positive for contamination, this is an area that all healthcare workers can improve upon.

Try a Little Honey, Honey

Recent studies have shown that honey’s medicinal potency is dependent upon a variety of factors, including the kind of nectar it is derived from.

Honey has been used as an antimicrobial agent for centuries. Recent studies have shown that honey’s medicinal potency is dependent upon a variety of factors, including the kind of nectar it is derived from.  While further research is needed to determine whether table honey is an effective antibacterial agent, one literature review reported that all honey is high in sugar content and acidity and can help prevent microbial growth. For an extra feel-good scrub, give this Vanilla and Honey Sugar Body Scrub recipe a try.

By | 2020-04-15T16:30:12-04:00 April 29th, 2013|Categories: Archived|6 Comments

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