Friday, July 11, 2014

Why you should never, ever touch that hospital elevator button

It's no secret that hospitals are dirty places. Hospital-acquired infections, like C. difficile, are major killers, and everyday objects on the wards—from white coats to ultrasound equipment—are well-known harborers of bacteria.

Now, a new study in the journal Open Medicine has revealed a little-known germ hotspot: the hospital elevator button.

The research, conducted by three physicians, compared the amounts of bacteria living on 120 elevator buttons and 96 toilet surfaces at three hospitals in Toronto, Ontario.

To find out just how the dirty hospital surfaces were, the researchers acted like Holmesian microbe hunters, swabbing elevator buttons, and the handles of bathrooms stalls and toilet flushers.

A lab technician—blinded to the source of the samples and purpose of the study—then examined them.

The results will lift elevator buttons to the same ick-factor status as waiting-room magazines or hotel room TV remote-controls 

The results will surely lift elevator buttons to the same ick-factor status as waiting-room magazines or hotel TV remote-controls: the elevator buttons were much dirtier than the toilet surfaces. "The prevalence of colonization (with bacteria) of elevator buttons was 61 percent," the study reads. On the toilets, it was 43 percent.

For the rest of the story: http://www.vox.com/2014/7/9/5883777/why-you-should-never-ever-touch-that-hospital-elevator-button

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