“In an episode of Gross by Men’s Health, the magazine’s editor in chief Matt Bean uses a handheld device to measure the germ-count on some of New York City’s dirtiest surfaces. Test results show that the most bacteria lives on Citi Bike handlebars, which prove to be 45 times more germy than subway train hold-bars. The second most disgusting surface turned out to be Starbucks door handles — ahead of a self-help internet kiosk, taxicab door handles, and a doorknob at Grand Central Station.
While most of the bacteria found on these surfaces are harmless, nothing above a germ count of 50 should touch your food. The Citi Bike handle scored a 1,512 and Starbucks received a 1,090 in contrast to subway trains, which measured in at a mere 35. (A)
“Now, that’s just one Starbucks . . . and there’s no guarantee any of those germs were ones that could make you really sick.
But, again, it’s a good reminder that we live in a FILTHY world . . . and soap and hand sanitizer exist for a reason.” (B)
There is not enough public awareness of the growing problem of hospital acquired infections, and in fact, infections in all medical settings from nursing homes to blood drawing centers.
“University of Michigan researchers reported in a 2014 study that infections – both those acquired inside and outside hospitals – would replace heart disease and cancer as the leading causes of death in hospitals if the count was performed by looking at patients’ medical billing records, which show what they were being treated for, rather than death certificates.” (C)
“In recent years, it’s become painfully clear to everyone working in medicine that frequent hand washing is crucial to stopping the spread of infection in hospital settings. Nowadays, every hospital and clinic posts signs that remind doctors and other health professionals to clean or sterilize their hands in between seeing every patient.
Doctors’ hands, though, aren’t the only things that come into contact with sick patients over and over again. The trusty stethoscope, one of the most basic and important tools in a physician’s kit, can touch dozens of patients during a day and is sanitized much less often than a pair of hands—potentially raising the risk for cross-transmission of harmful bacteria and other microbes between patients.
“Physicians forget to clean their hands quite frequently, even in the best places,” … “When they forget to clean their hands, they certainly forget to disinfect their stethoscope. And from my experience, even those who are really good models of hand hygiene likely forget to clean their stethoscopes most of the time.” “ (D)
“While stethoscopes can transmit the same germs as unclean hands, none of the doctors in a recent study bothered to clean them between patients.
And that was the case even after an educational intervention about the importance of stethoscope hygiene in preventing infections: Zero doctors wiped off the stethoscope between patient encounters, according to a study published in the July issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the journal of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC)….
The bad results were especially confounding because the institution checks second-year medical students’ compliance in an evaluation that demonstrates competency in performing a complete history and physical.
Infection control guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also say reusable medical equipment, such as stethoscopes, must undergo disinfection between patients.” (E)
“Your doctor may not necessarily tell you everything you need to know about HAIs before you’re admitted to the hospital. Here are facts you should know to safeguard your health — and maybe even save your life. 1. Healthcare-associated infections are alarmingly common. 2. You could come down with an infection that’s resistant to antibiotics.3. You could be a carrier of a drug-resistant bug and not even know it. 4. Hospital-acquired infections don’t only develop in patients who have surgery. 5. Taking antibiotics when they’re not needed increases your risk of a future healthcare-associated infection. 6. You can find out how your hospital’s infection rate compares with others. 7. Common objects in a hospital can be contaminated with disease-causing germs. 8. Surfaces like bed rails and hospital elevator buttons need to be kept clean, too. 9. Many hospital-associated infections are preventable. 10. Hospitals make a concerted effort to lower the rate of HAIs among their patients.” (F)
There are “three published reports describing the transmission of hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus in dental settings since 2003. ……(another report) described a 2015 outbreak of Mycobacterium abscessus infection at a pediatric dentistry practice.
In most cases, investigators have failed to link a specific lapse of infection prevention and control practice with a particular transmission. However, reported breakdowns in basic infection prevention practices included unsafe injection practices, failure to heat-sterilize dental handpieces between patients, failure to monitor (e.g., conduct spore testing of) autoclaves, and failure to maintain dental unit waterlines.” (G)
“What should a patient look for in a dental office for assurance that the dentist and staff are taking proper precautions to prevent cross-infection?
1) Do you heat-sterilize all your instruments, including handpieces (“dental drills”), between patients?
2) How do you know that the sterilizer is working properly?
3) Do you (wash your hands and) change your gloves for every patient, in front of the patient?
4) Do you disinfect the surfaces in the operatory between patients?
5) If you are unclear on or uncomfortable with the precautions your dental practice takes to protect you during treatment, talk to your dentist or dental team member about your concerns and ask to see the office’s instrument processing area. (H)
Do you have any idea about infection control in your dentist’s office? I ask the dentists and hygienist to wash their hands in front of me before they put on gloves and start a procedure.
“Five precautions to make waiting rooms as safe as possible for patients: Make hand sanitizer accessible in high-traffic areas; Offer an antiviral face mask to patients and healthcare workers; Use germ-killing wipes on high-contact surfaces; Review containment plans and keep patients with flu-like symptoms away from others.” (I)
The “Gold Standard” in hand hygiene during the collection of blood specimens has 22 steps, including Perform Hand Hygiene four times. (J)
I have never seen any phlebotomist complete all these steps! In fact most of the steps are done in another room. But I do insist they wash their hands in front of me before the put on gloves then start the procedure immediately with no intermediate steps.
Each of us needs to be our own Infection Control Officer and feel comfortable that every practitioner takes infection control seriously!
Some related posts
It’s okay and important to ask your doctor “DID YOU WASH YOUR HANDS?”
President Garfield didn’t die from an assassin’s bullet, but rather from a doctor’s dirty hands.
(A) Starbucks Door Handles Are 31 Times More Germy Than New York City’s Subways, by Taylor Rock, https://www.thedailymeal.com/eat/starbucks-door-handles-are-31-times-more-germy-new-york-citys-subways/102517
(B) A Door Handle at Starbucks Has More Germs Than a Subway Pole, by Jesse Reynolds, www.jumpradio.ca/2017/11/06/a-door-handle-at-starbucks-has-more-germs-than-a-subway-pole/
(C) No one knows how many patients are dying from superbug infections in California hospitals, http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-torrance-memorial-infections-20161002-snap-story.html
(D) Doctors’ Stethoscopes Can Transmit Bacteria As Easily As Unwashed Hands, by Joseph Stromber, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/doctors-stethoscopes-can-transmit-bacteria-as-easily-as-unwashed-hands-180949904/
(E) (C) The dirty (and dangerous) truth about doctors’ stethoscopes, by Joanne Finnegan, http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/practices/how-many-doctors-wipe-off-stethoscope-between-patients-zero?utm_medium=nl&utm_source=internal&mrkid=9121954&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWkdFek9EaGxabVk0TVdVeCIsInQiOiJOVU4rUVU0NmxUK09hWnNSSjNTTmVTRmVLV1Z6UjVcL1ZcL2RwRDNKOWpHaFhoYzZSK3Y3TzUyMzNQbitPY016dGVIc0RqYnh0MHZWNzRJRGU5MTY4QkJzR04zQVFQZUFhckI2N1I2U05KaVFKUU9KOVdqZlZRRDYzcnZSZDhcL0k5NSJ9
(F) (D) 10 Things Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About Hospital Infections by Rosemary Black, http://www.everydayhealth.com/things-your-doctor-wont-tell-about-hospital-infections/ (
(G) Preventing Disease Transmission in Dental Settings, http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/874851
(H) (F) five questions that patients should ask their dental care providers about infection control practices, http://www.osap.org/?Patient_FiveQuestion
(I) (G) 5 ways to prevent infection spread in waiting rooms, by Heather Punke, http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/quality/5-ways-to-prevent-infection-spread-in-waiting-rooms.html
(J) (H) Blood Collection Hand Hygiene Practice Guidelines, http://www.hha.org.au/userfiles/file/manual/bloodcollectionpracticeguidelines.pdf