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Rings increase infection risk

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Wearing rings increases bacterial colonisation on hands, despite the use of alcohol-based hand-rub, say Turkish researchers.

They tested cultures from 84 nurses working in the intensive care unit of a paediatric hospital. Of these, a third worse a plain ring, a third a ring with a stone and the remainder wore no rings at all. The nurses all used an alcohol-based hand disinfectant before the cultures were collected, the authors said.

Those wearing rings – either plain bands or rings with stones – had more Gram-positive, Gram-negative and total bacterial colonisation on hands than nurses without rings, regardless of hand-rub use, said the authors from the Hacettepe University Ihsan Dogramaci Children's Hospital in Ankara.

‘The type of ring did not cause any significant difference on the bacterial load,’ they said online in the International Journal of Nursing Studies. ‘Wearing rings could increase the frequency of transmission of potential nosocomial pathogens.’

The findings support latest Department of Health infection control guidance, which recommended healthcare staff be ‘bare below the elbow’.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Interesting abstract, daunting prospect should married employees refuse to remove their wedding rings- solution -wear gloves

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