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What's Hanging Around Your Neck…Carrying Bacteria?
Posted on: 7/31/2017

It's your stethoscope.


Of course, health care professionals' fingertips are the main routes by which microorganisms are transmitted among patients. But new findings published in a recent issue of the American Journal of Infection Control suggest that stethoscopes become contaminated after each patient and that failing to disinfect stethoscopes could lead to a serious patient safety issue – similar to ignoring hand hygiene.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in every 20 patients has an infection after receiving medical care – and that 30 to 40 percent of those infections occur via the spread of pathogens.

ISMS encourages physicians to disinfect their stethoscopes between patient encounters.

Related: ISMS Resolution C318 (A-15): Stethoscope Disinfection

Here’s how to disinfect

Wipe the stethoscope's diaphragm and bell with a disinfectant in between patients, before and after a shift, and as needed.

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