The stethoscope is an invaluable tool for the medical profession. It can help in the diagnoses of many conditions from bowel complaints to heart problems. Unfortunately the stethoscope itself can actually become the carrier of infection.
There are many infections that can lurk in the ordinary stethoscope. These include the deadly bug MRSA, E. Coli, salmonella and more. Stethoscopes can pass these infections on to other patients and even other medical staff.
The most common complaint is stethoscope-associated otitis externa. This is an infection of the outer ear canal caused by ill-fitting ear pieces irritating the ear.
Tips on Avoiding Stethoscope Associated Infections
Antibacterial wipe-clean earpieces such as ours are ideal at preventing ear infections. Because you mold them to your ears from a kit they are comfortable. They are the only molded stethoscope earpieces you can make at home. They cut the costs of having them made at the audiologist.
The Nursing Times acknowledges the dangers of infection transmission through the stethoscope. This is particularly when using communal stethoscopes and they recommend the following tips:
- Clean personal and communal stethoscopes both before and after usage.
- Use soap and water to clean the stethoscope. Allow to dry.
- Check the stethoscope weekly for any cracks or splits which can harbour bacteria.
Dangers of Sharing Stethoscopes
Many nurses and doctors also have to face the problem of others using their stethoscopes. This can increase the risk of infection. This problem is acknowledged on a popular nurses' forum. It recommends that nurses should become more confident in saying no. Instead they should use anti-bacterial wipes before loaning them out to someone. They should also be used once they are returned.
How to Prevent Stethoscope Ear Pieces from Causing Infection
The stethoscope itself, even if not shared, can cause infection. This is particularly the case if the ear tips are not fitted correctly. Users should consider moulded ear pieces from http://zenplugs.com/stethoscope-earpieces-littmann/ as they have the following benefits.
- Moulded ear pieces are fitted and are shaped to fit into your ear
- Sharing stethoscopes is less likely to occur as moulded ear pieces will only fit the one user
- Moulded ear tips are comfortable so your ears will not become irritated
- Cracks and splits are less likely with custom stethoscope ear tips. This is because they do not need to be forced or squeezed into varied ear canal shapes. The materials are usually more resilient and longer lasting
ZenPlugs Molded Stethoscope Earpieces also have the added benefit of being self-cleaning. This is because they are coated with Steritouch. This is proven to kill the main bacteria found lurking on ordinary ear pieces. This includes MRSA, salmonella, E. coli and other pathogenic organisms.