COVID-19 Tips to Properly clean your Stethoscope. There’s a lot of suffering that health personnel has endured during the Covid-19 epidemic.
The physical and emotional stress of being under-worked during a time characterized by staff shortages and the threat of a global pandemic cannot be overestimated. This hasn’t been a great time to be a nurse.
Anyway, I appear to be straying from the topic I was really hoping to discuss today.
The sheer quantity of pressure placed on frontline workers these days can mean that even the smallest things, like cleanliness and maintaining our equipment can get lost in the shuffle.
Even at the best times (i.e the prior to the outbreak), in a 2018 study in which medical students were asked about their stethoscope-cleaning habits, more than one quarter (22.4 percent) stated that they do not clean their stethoscopes. Incredibly that only 3.9 percent of respondents said they cleaned their stethoscopes after each patient exam.
This quick guide will look at the ideal and most effective method for keeping your stethoscope clean in the Covid times.
Stethoscope Cleaning between Patient Examinations
While it may be tempting to wipe the instrument down using hand sanitizers but this is not the best method of cleaning your instrument.
It is not possible to guarantee the elimination of harmful bacteria with this method. Additionally, the ingredients included in the formula used to make the cleaning agent may cause damage to the parts of the stethoscope in the course of time (the tubing is the most vulnerable).
As we all know that during the pandemic, it is crucial that the stethoscope be thoroughly cleaned after each patient exam.
What’s the most efficient way to accomplish this?
If you have a Littmann stethoscope (which let’s face it is easily the most well-known brand of stethoscopes currently available) There’s actually specific information on their site.
They suggest these cleaning solutions for each of their models:
Water and mild soap
70 70% isopropyl alcohol ruby alcohol (pads or bottles)
2% bleach solution (may cause tubing discoloration)
In essence, the health institution which you work with or for will need to provide Isopropyl-based rubbing alcohol. If that isn’t the case, then find out the reason and ask for it. Or, you can buy bottles on Amazon.
Do not fall for the lure of immersing your stethoscope in the fluid of any kind to clean it. The result will be an instrument that has been damaged.
Cleaning Stethoscope Components
When using the proper wipes to clean your stethoscope between exams of patients is a part of the routine, once in a while you should take the time to be spending more time cleaning the instrument by disassembling it when you go along.
This is basically removing the components in order to ensure it is possible to have a thorough cleaning completed.
It is recommended to always consult the manual for your stethoscope to get detailed instructions for removing parts and assembly. The following components are typically removable and may be cleaned.
Non-chill bell sleeves
Additionally, 70% isopropyl ruby alcohol is suggested for cleansing these parts.
When you’re done your work, you must let the parts completely dry before attempting to assemble the Stethoscope.
Storing your Stethoscope
Another step you should take during these tense periods to ensure that the instrument isn’t infected is to store it in a safe place during times when it is not being used.
In essence, the less interaction it can have with a hazardous environment the safer.
A properly stored instrument will increase the life expectancy of the stethoscope since it can help prevent the destruction of its components.
If you can, keep the stethoscope inside the original box that it was packaged in. If you don’t have one anymore, attempt to find an appropriate container that can be exclusively used for the storage of the instrument.
The container (original or not) must be kept in a cool, dry drawer, cabinet, or locker.
It is essential that you do not expose your stethoscopes to extreme heat or cold temperatures. Direct sunlight is a big no-no.
Other general guidelines for storage are based on a common basis. Make sure it is kept away from toxic liquids, don’t put it into the back pocket of your pants, and don’t leave it in the vicinity of any other objects.
It’s a delicate but essential instrument. It is not a panacea, but it needs to be regularly cleaned and appropriately maintained.
But I’m sure you’ve heard this before… I’m done with the speech… Enjoy your day! Have a fantastic day.