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60秒科学:Docs Should Wash Stethoscopes between Patients, Too


60秒科学节目(SSS)是科学美国人网站的一套广播栏目,英文名称:Scientific American – 60 Second Science,节目内容以科学报道为主,节目仅一分钟的时间,主要对当今的科学技术新发展作以简明、通俗的介绍,对于科学的发展如何影响人们的生活环境、健康状况及科学技术,提供了大量简明易懂的阐释。

During a physical exam, doctors pick up a lot from their patients. Including that patient’s bacteria. To keep infections from spreading, physicians try to always wash their hands between exams. But they don’t always scrub their stethoscopes.

To see just how much bacteria these instruments gather, doctors examined 71 patients, using sterile stethoscopes and gloves. After each exam, researchers collected samples from the stethoscope’s surface and tube, as well as four parts of the physician’s gloved hands: the fingertips, backs and two locations on the palm.

The fingertips became by far the most bacterially contaminated. But the runner-up was the stethoscope’s surface, which gathered more microbes than the palms or the backs of the hands. The study is in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. [Yves Longtin et al., Contamination of Stethoscopes and Physicians’ Hands After a Physical Examination]

Although fingertips picked up more than five times as much bacteria as stethoscopes did, doctors reduce that contamination before seeing the next patient by cleaning their hands. According to this study’s authors, stethoscopes should get the same treatment. Then the only thing to fear is the stethoscope’s icy temperature.

—Sophie Bushwick


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