Articles

Stethoscope Covers: Protection against Infections

by Shruti Sharma Content Curator

One thing that always accompanies doctors and is often seen wrapped around their necks is a stethoscope. Used to listen to lungs, hearts and blood flow, a stethoscope is a trusty instrument that is used for examination. While most of us have been examined using the device every time we visit a doctor, not many of us reflect and think about the safety aspect of it. Being used on multiple patients throughout the day, it is important to consider whether the doctor cleans the stethoscope after each use and the risks associated.  From wearing disposable examination gloves to using fresh paper liners for examining the table, it is well-known that the doctors take all necessary precautions to protect themselves and the patient from contamination. The same precautions are required while using a stethoscope as well.

Studies point out that stethoscopes do carry disease-carrying microbes including the drug-resistant bacteria MRSA. MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus which is resistant to certain kinds of antibiotics related to penicillin. A significant proportion of the population carries staph bacteria around their skin or nose, without causing any serious side effects. In patients with weakened immune systems, such bacteria lead to serious illnesses and deaths. Hospitals act as a concentrated area for patients with compromised immune systems which is why infections spread rapidly there. An estimated 2.4% of the hospital patients had MRSA infection around June 2007. With the numbers increasing every day, it becomes important to ensure adequate care while using each medical device- be it a stethoscope or an online thermometer.

Need For Stethoscope Safety Awareness

It is a well-established fact that stethoscopes can house disease-carrying microbes. Stethoscope’s link to the transmission of infection is backed up by research evidence dating back to 1972. There has also been a strong emphasis on the use of alcohol for cleaning stethoscopes to prevent infection. The practice, however, is often hard to materialize, especially in busy environments such as emergency rooms and trauma centers. Another solution that’s trustworthy is the disposable stethoscope cap. While it does cover the chest piece of the stethoscope, about 80-90% of the stethoscope area including the tubes still remains exposed. There are also disposable stethoscopes meant specifically for high-risk areas. The problem with such stethoscopes is that they are expensive and compromise with the quality when looked at the price.

Disposable Stethoscope Sleeve- Ensuring Stethoscope Safety

Disposable sleeves act as a unique solution to the problem. Such sleeves cover the entire stethoscope instead of just the chest piece. They offer adequate protection against fluids and microbes. Surgical gowns and masks are also made of similar material. It takes just a few seconds to put them on and off. Not only do they act as full-coverage tools but also offer adequate safety to both the patients and the healthcare providers. Also, the acoustic quality isn’t compromised when using them.

Although each healthcare provider must take precautions while using stethoscopes, more care must be taken in trauma centers, emergency rooms, and infectious disease centers. The need of the hour is to make stethoscope sleeves as common as examination gloves. Next time you search for Littman stethoscope price in India, log onto Smart Medical Buyer and do make sure to search for a stethoscope sleeve as well.

 

 


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About Shruti Sharma Innovator   Content Curator

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Joined APSense since, November 29th, 2017, From Delhi, India.

Created on Nov 22nd 2019 05:59. Viewed 278 times.

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