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Bare elbows not infection risk


Bare below the elbow uniforms appear to have little impact on infection risk, say US researchers.

A randomised study looked at 100 doctors who wore a clean, short-sleeved uniform or a long-sleeved white coat.

Cultures were taken from wrists, cuffs and pockets.

No significant differences were found in bacteria colony counts between each style after eight hours.

The researchers said: “Our data do not support…requiring healthcare workers to avoid long-sleeved garments.”


Readers' comments (7)

  • Does this mean that the old school white coats can make a comeback then?

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  • Are nurses in the Uk allowed to wear cardigans or long sleeved t-shirts when it is cold or draughty?

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  • only on a night shift and you have to take them off if you are going to do a procedure. During day shifts in a hospital it tends to be the heat that is more of an issue rather than feeling cold.

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  • This in my opinion, misses the point of bare below the elbows. It will always be difficult to prove a link between an infection and a particular health care worker, whether it be their clothes, sleeves or ties.
    The point is, long sleeves, bracelets, wrist watches etc are a barrier to good hand washing technique and that is why IPC teams encourages it.

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  • I completely agree with the previous comment. The rational for bare below elbows was to enable effective hand washing. Long sleeves/white coats restricts the ability of the healthcare worker to effect good technique.

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  • I would have thought nurses had better things to do with their time

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  • You are often lucky if the docs bother to wash their hands at all, or put on gloves and gown.

    Reverse barrier nursing a patient all day just for the doc to waltz in to the room (without washing hands) and draw blood without any PPE...sigh.

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