According to a report published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, hospital workers should avoid wearing long sleeves, wrist watches, neck ties and jewelry, but encourage sturdy, closed-toed shoes. Doctors should wash their white coats at least once a week in hot water and bleach, according to the article. Studies suggest that long sleeves, pockets, and neckties can harbor bacteria that are resistant to all but the strongest antibiotics.
While there is no evidence that hospital borne infections, like MRSA and C.diff, are transmitted through workers’ clothing, it is best to take proper precautions. “There’s a theoretical basis that if you have clean clothes, you have less chance of transmitting a pathogen,” Gonzalo Bearman, M.D., a hospital epidemiologist with the Virginia Commonwealth University System and a member of the SHEA guidelines committee, told NBC News. At this point, the dress code suggestions are entirely voluntary, and more research is needed before wide scale change is attempted.
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