Influenza, Stethoscopes and Infection Control September 28 2015

As the fall and winter months arrive we will begin to see influenza cases around the United States. Remember, your stethoscope is a critical fomite in infection control. See below for CDC recommendations on how to protect patients from Influenza during their physician’s visits:

“Fundamental Elements to Prevent Influenza Transmission

Preventing transmission of influenza virus and other infectious agents within healthcare settings requires a multi-faceted approach. Spread of influenza virus can occur among patients, HCP, and visitors; in addition, HCP may acquire influenza from persons in their household or community. The core prevention strategies include:

  • administration of influenza vaccine
  • implementation of respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette
  • appropriate management of ill HCP
  • adherence to infection control precautions for all patient-care activities and aerosol-generating procedures
  • implementing environmental and engineering infection control measures.

Successful implementation of many, if not all, of these strategies is dependent on the presence of clear administrative policies and organizational leadership that promote and facilitate adherence to these recommendations among the various people within the healthcare setting, including patients, visitors, and HCP. These administrative measures are included within each recommendation where appropriate. Furthermore, this guidance should be implemented in the context of a comprehensive infection prevention program to prevent transmission of all infectious agents among patients and HCP.”

Prevention Strategies for Seasonal Influenza in Healthcare Settings: Guidelines and Recommendations. CDC. Available at:

 Further resources available at:

Siegel J, Rhinehart E, Jackson M, Chiarello L, the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee. 2007 Guideline for isolation precautions: preventing transmission of infectious agents in healthcare settings. 2007.

Why don't providers sanitize stethoscopes? August 02 2015

What prevents providers from sanitizing stethoscopes? A study of pediatric healthcare providers published in The American Journal of Infection Control found reasons for not sanitizing the stethoscope include concern about stethoscope wear and tear, lack of access to disinfection materials, lack of visual reminders and lack of time.1

StethoBarrier products address these concerns by providing small and full-length disposable stethoscope covers that do not damage the stethoscope, are easy to apply, and provide a visual reminder of stethoscope hygiene – our covers are bright blue so providers will notice if their stethoscope is missing one. Furthermore, disposable covers can improve quality of care while reducing supply costs by replacing low-quality disposable stethoscopes with providers’ high-quality stethoscopes outfitted with a cover.

  1. Predictors of stethoscope disinfection among pediatric health care providers. Muniz, Jeanette et al. American Journal of Infection Control, Volume 40, Issue 10, 922 - 925