Any medical professional would vouch for the fact that keeping your stethoscope clean and in good condition is absolutely essential. A failure to do so would result in incorrect diagnosis. Apart from impacting the quality of your work, this also puts your patients under a lot of risk.
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Earpieces are one of the first parts of your stethoscope that reflects wear and tear and gives you an indication for change. They also tend to carry hospital acquired infections (HAI). Changing them regularly helps restore the original sound quality which degrades over time.
Cleaning Your Stethoscope
Stethoscopes are used a number of times on a daily basis with quite a large number of people. Hence it should be cleaned frequently. Some of the instances which require you to clean your stethoscope include:
· Switching from one patient to another: This helps avoid transferring bacteria between the patients.
· Before and after shift: Cleaning your stethoscope should be included in your daily routine. Before and after your shift, the cleaning process reduces the chance of bacteria spreading.
· Contamination: These situations occur often in the medical profession. You need to clean your stethoscope immediately when exposed to unknown particles or when they have been contaminated.
It is important to maintain the hygiene of your stethoscopes with non-invasive cleaning agents. There are a number of cleaning options that you can use:
· Mild, soapy water: This is one of the simplest cleaning methods that require detergent and water.
· Antibacterial wipes: These make for a quick fix to clean your stethoscope. But it should be kept in mind that they do not guarantee 100% cleanliness.
· Ethanol hand cleaner: These are convenient for quickly cleaning your medical equipment in a hospital environment.
· Isopropyl alcohol: This is the most effective form of disinfecting your stethoscope. It is available as wipes, alcohol pads and in bottles.
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