Ever Wonder About the Germs on Your Doctor’s Stethoscope? Researchers Found a Way to Make Them Germ-Free

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In Alabama, researchers at the University of Alabama in Birmingham have found a way to help prevent hospital infections from spreading. While the image of doctors and nurses don’t seem complete without stethoscopes, apparently they aren’t cleaned very often and hide tons of germs and bacteria as they are used from patient to patient and day to day. But biomedical engineering researchers found that using an anti-fouling polyisoprene surface which fits on the bell and diaphragm part of a stethoscope, along with a commercially available polymer based antimicrobial material that releases silver ions, was an effective way to keep germs off stethoscopes for about 24 hours. Doctors can then remove and discard the covering at the end of the day and use a new one for the next day. This new approach to keeping stethoscopes germ-free can help over 70,000 patients each year that get hospital infections each year.