October 29, 2007

A Lesson in Mammalian Evolution

Filed under: Evolution and You — Sharon Moalem @ 7:02 am

October 9, 2007

Can Don Ho Can Stop the Spread of Superbugs?

Filed under: Health Tips,News,Views — Sharon Moalem @ 3:35 am


Super-bugs are everywhere. Once found mainly in hospitals, antibiotic resistant organisms are taking up residences wherever they can.

When I was a first year medical student a very astute infectious disease consultant warned us about the dangers of neckties.

Apparently, it’s quite easy for many health practitioners to forget that they shouldn’t straighten their ties before or after seeing patients. Fixing a tie can easily act as safe houses for unwanted germs transferring them to unsuspecting patients.

I also remember this doctor specifically because he wore a classic physicians long sleeved coat that looked two sizes too big. I kept wondering what all that extra material was for, and how it must get in the way while he was examining patients.

Not a good thing if you want to keep from spreading pathogens, especially since his bread and butter cases were infectious disease patients.

One superbug in particular is really good at hitchhiking on excess baggage, such as clothing, and its name is methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA. To avoid having hospital staff shuttle MRSA around, infecting other patients, according to the Guardian (thanks for the link Matt), long sleeve coats are to be banned in English NHS centers.

Health practitioners are to be bare sleeved to promote proper hand/wrist washing to help stop the spread of germs like MRSA. I’ve always been a big believer in public health initiatives and wonder how long it will take for other countries to join the “sleeveless club”.

I think if hospitals want to get their staff excited to implement such changes they should start by giving away Hawaain shirts.

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