Stethoscope has more germs than a doctor’s hand

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Stethoscope has more germs than a doctor's handOf course, many people assume or at least hope, that medical equipment such as stethoscopes are equipment that are clean and free of germs. However, studies reveal a surprising fact. A research conducted in Switzerland shows that the stethoscope diaphragm section ( which is attached to the patient’s body ) has more germs that a doctor’s hand.

The study also found a link between the level of hygiene of a stethoscope with the doctor’s hand. This is according to researchers is because there are no clear guidelines as to how often physicians should clean their stethoscopes.

“The more bacteria in the doctor’s fingertips, the more the bacteria that exist on the stethoscope,” said lead researcher Dr. Didier Pittet of the University of Geneva Hospital, as reported by Live Science.

These results were obtained after  researchers observed 71 patients who were examined by one of the three doctors who use sterile gloves and sterile stethoscope. After examination, the researchers observed the amount of bacterial contamination in two parts, the stethoscope and the doctor’s hands.

Researchers found that part of the stethoscope diaphragm turned out to contain more bacterial contamination compared to all parts of the hands of doctors, except the tip of the hand. The back of the stethoscope is also known to contain a lot of bacteria compared to the back of the doctor’s hand.

Pittet explained that the most surprising thing is the level of bacterial colonies that is quite a lot. These results are expected to provide information for physicians to more frequently clean their stethoscopes. Not cleaning a stethoscope could affect the health of the patients examined.

According to researchers, until now there has been no clear instructions on cleaning a stethoscope. However, a doctor usually use different stethoscopes for bacterial infected patients and patients who have resistance to drugs.

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