Advertisement

The necktie as a potential vector of infection: are doctors happy to do without?

      A review of uniforms and workwear by the UK Department of Health recommended that it is poor practice to wear neckties (other than bowties) in any care activity that involves contact with patients, as they serve no beneficial function in patient care, are rarely laundered and have been shown to be colonised by pathogens.
      • Department of Health
      Uniforms and workwear.
      Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) were found on two of five neckties of doctors working in an intensive care unit, and Staphylococcus aureus was isolated from eight of 40 doctors' ties in a Scottish hospital.
      • Dixon M.
      Neckties as vectors for nosocomial infection.
      • Ditchburn I.
      Should doctors wear ties?.
      A study from a London hospital showed that there were significantly higher bacterial counts on the ties of doctors compared to their shirt pockets; the authors found that ties were much less frequently laundered than shirts.
      • Lopez P.J.
      Bacterial counts from hospital doctors' ties are higher than those from shirts.
      Interestingly, despite the Department of Health recommendation excluding bow ties, a study comparing conventional ties and bow ties worn by obstetricians and gynaecologists found that there was no difference in levels of contamination of either type of tie by the third day that they were worn.
      • Biljan M.M.
      Multicentre randomised double bind crossover trial on contamination of conventional ties and bow ties in routine obstetric and gynaecological practice.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to Journal of Hospital Infection
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • Department of Health
        Uniforms and workwear.
        DoH, London2007
        • Dixon M.
        Neckties as vectors for nosocomial infection.
        Intensive Care Med. 2000; 26: 250
        • Ditchburn I.
        Should doctors wear ties?.
        J Hosp Infect. 2006; 63: 227-228
        • Lopez P.J.
        Bacterial counts from hospital doctors' ties are higher than those from shirts.
        Am J Infect Control. 2009; 37: 79-80
        • Biljan M.M.
        Multicentre randomised double bind crossover trial on contamination of conventional ties and bow ties in routine obstetric and gynaecological practice.
        Br Med J. 1993; 307: 1582-1584
        • McKinstry B.
        Putting on the style: what patients think of the way their doctor dresses.
        Br J Gen Pract. 1991; 41: 275-278
        • Hathorn I.F.
        Ties and white coats, to wear or not to wear? Patients' attitude to doctors' appearance in the otolaryngology outpatient clinic.
        Clin Otolaryngol. 2008; 33: 505-506
        • Gjerdingen D.K.
        Physicians' attitudes about their professional appearance.
        Fam Pract Res J. 1989; 9: 57-64