If you’re heading to your doctor anytime soon, then you most likely will want to cower in the corner until you’ve seen your doctor or nurse wash their hands with soap and water. A new study headed by Dr. Caroline Landelle at the Geneva University Hospitals and Med School in Switzerland, and published in the Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology journal, shows that as many as one out of four doctors are touching you with hands contaminated by a nasty little bug called C. Difficile. Read on, and beware, you might want to gag, like I did:
The study was published recently in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), which recommends after caring for patients with C. difficile infections, health care professionals in routine care settings should clean their hands with alcohol-based rubs, and use soap and water in outbreak settings.
However, there is a view that many health care workers could be passing on C. difficile to patients, even after routine alcohol-based hand rubbing, pointing to a need for routine hand washing with soap and water after treating any infected patient, regardless the setting.
This new study, the first of its kind, supports this view, as Dr. Landelle explains:
“Because C. difficile spores are so resistant and persistent to disinfection, glove use is not an absolute barrier against the contamination of health care workers’ hands. Effective hand hygiene should be performed, even in non-outbreak settings.”
While older people are more susceptible, if you’re on a long term course of antibiotics, you could get it too. I know I’ve seen doctors just pop on in and hit the hand sanitizer before getting to work when I’ve gone in. That will not be happening anymore.