Here’s Why Your Doctor’s Gloves Should Freak You Out

latex gloveAnd now, another one for the "wish I didn't know that" files. You know those latex gloves doctors wear? They're not as helpful as we'd like them to be. Allow me to introduce you to the hideous phrase "back spray." It's what can happen when doctors remove their gloves and bio-hazards splash off the gloves and back onto their hands.

I'll let you sit with that horror image for a moment or two before I drop the next info bomb. (OMG NOOOOO!!! Etc. etc.) Okay, ready? When doctors wear gloves, they wash their hands less often. A new study on hospital hygiene shows that the usual hand-washing rate in hospitals is around 47.7 percent, but when doctors are using gloves, it slips to 41 percent. Oh no, why doctors, why?


Sorry. I know you can't unread that. Now what do you do? This makes me want to turn into a hand-washing nag the next time I'm in a hospital, especially if I see doctors wearing gloves. I may even follow the doctors around, dragging my IV-drip with me, just to make sure the suds are happening. "Did you wash? Did you wash? DID YOU WASH YOUR HANDS???"

What, you weren't blessed with the nagging gene the way I have been? Well it probably doesn't matter anyway. I think most people end up at the hospital unconscious or in too much pain to notice whether or not the doctors are wearing gloves. It's not like you plan a car accident and can sit down with the ER doctors to say, "Now when I come in with a broken back and glass embedded in my forehead, please, do be sure to wash your hands before and after you wear those gloves."

So I guess all I can do is hope that a few hospital presidents are on to this problem and are working with their staff to get those hand-washing rates up. Right, hospital presidents? Tell me you've got this one!

Are you worried about getting sick while you're in the hospital?


Image via erix/Flickr

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