ICU nurses' scrubs pick up hospital superbugs

Posted at 6:31 PM, Oct 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-28 18:32:04-04

This new study funded by the Center for Disease Control is a real wake-up call.

Researchers collected samples twice a day in the ICU at Duke University Hospital. They found disease-causing germs can easily spread from a patient to a nurse’s uniform, most likely to the sleeves and pockets of scrubs.

Bacteria was also found in the room no matter where researchers took cultures, especially on bed railings, despite the room being cleaned daily.

The study tracked bacteria that is fairly troublesome in hospitals like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Klebsiella pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These can cause hard-to-treat infections because they’re resistant to many antibiotics.

If you’re visiting loved ones in a hospital, you need to be extra vigilant to prevent infections. Here are my prescriptions:

  1. Hands should be washed before and after visiting patients
  2. Keep your hands away from your face until you’ve cleaned your hands thoroughly
  3. Make sure the patient’s rooms gets meticulous cleaned regularly
  4. Be sure to stay home if you’re sick to help protect others at the hospital

Question: Did the study find any germs transmitted from the nurse to a patient?

The study didn’t find any bugs that spread from a nurse to a patient.  But it’s likely this happens because almost half of hospital-acquired infections occur in the intensive care unit. 

So nurse’s should frequently wash their hands after all patient encounters and be sure to use gloves and gowns as well.