Bacteria in healthcare workers' clothes jumps fourfold when worn more than one shift

A study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection found that the amount of time healthcare professionals wear their work attire affects the amount of bacteria in their work clothes.

Researchers examined the healthcare attire of physicians and nurses after their shifts were over. They also gave study participants a standardized questionnaire that gathered information about the time of duty, alcohol-based hand rub use and workplace role from each ward in the facility. They studied 700 samples from the attire of 200 healthcare workers.

They found that bacterial load on attire was four times higher when the healthcare professionals wore the same attire for more than one shift. Physicians had a lower amount of bacteria on their clothing than nurses.

The researchers also found that length of time spent wearing their work clothes significantly influenced the detection of Staphylococcus aureus as the most common pathogen on attire.

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