(DENVER, Colo.) -- Based on the assumption that long-sleeves lead to lots of bacterial contamination among physicians, governmental agencies in the United Kingdom and Scotland have recently instituted guidelines banning physicians' white coats and the wearing of long-sleeves garments to decrease the transmission of bacteria within the hospitals.
But a new study suggests that the length of sleeves may not really matter after all.
Researchers at the University of Colorado tested uniforms of 100 physicians who were randomly assigned to wear either short-sleeved or long-sleeved uniforms at the start of their day. By testing for the presence of bacteria on the physicians’ wrists, cuffs and pockets, the study found there was no difference in bacterial contamination between the long-sleeved white coats and short-sleeved uniforms.
The author of the study, which was published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine, concluded the data “do not support discarding white coats for uniforms that are changed on a daily basis, or for requiring health care workers to avoid long-sleeved garments”.
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