Medical Scrub
Healthcare Workwear

Medical Scrub Uniform Protection in Healthcare (Covid-19)

In the medical and health care sector the hygiene and cleanliness is a prime concern of practitioners. There is a critical bifurcation of wearing a sterilised uniform by doctors, nurses and surgeons, before interacting with the patient and change it after when going out of the healthcare facility or a hospital. This set of clothing is called scrub. Like many other advancements in the field of medical practices, scrubs also went through a long evolution process of identifying the need of this article, to avoid the infections or germs to be transferred in and out.

Medical scrubs are a simple set of clothes with straight cuts and minimal details for the infections and germs to hide in. Initially, nurses and doctors were using white scrubs until they realised that it causes stress for the surgeon to concentrate against the white interior of the hospital space. They come up with the solution of using the shades of green because of two main reasons, one is that the green colour has a soothing effect, and it creates a visible contrast against white in a cool colour palette and the second the bloodstains darkened on the green colour and look less unpleasant.

For further details about the scrub evolution and colour choices, you may check here & read a brief history of nurse uniform here.

Scrub and PPE in Covid-19

As COVID-19 impacted globally, in terms of modifying the human interaction, change in social norms and priorities of being healthy and safe, the necessity of scrub becomes more crucial and important than ever before.

It won’t be wrong if we say that scrubs become a dire need for the health care sector. It is a fundamental requirement now to ensure patient safety from outside contamination and the medical staff safety from the exposure of virus during their job fulfilment.

The fear of carrying the virus with them is higher because of COVID-19, as the virus is constantly spreading and mutating simultaneously.

Keeping in mind the urgency of the situation, the process of wearing and removing scrub/PPE items and gears in a particular sequence can protect the health care workers and minimize the risk of carrying the virus alongside.

This order of wearing and taking off scrub uniform is called donning and doffing respectively.

Here is the step by step guide outline for your review :

Donning: 

The flow of donning protocol is as follows:

  1. Hand hygiene
  2. Put on the respirator
  3. Put on surgical ca
  4. Put on Goggles
  5. Put on Gloves
  6. Put on coverall suit with name written on it
  7. Put on gloves
  8. Put on shoe cover
  9. Hand hygiene

Doffing: 

The flow of doffing protocol is as follows:

  1. Remove visible contaminants
  2. Hand hygiene with 0.2% chlorine-based disinfectant
  3. Remove isolation gown
  4. Remove face sheild
  5. Remove surgical mask
  6. Remove outercap
  7. Remove outer shoes cover
  8. Remove outer gloves
  9. Open the door with paper towel

For further elaboration on the process and details, you can check.

While we are learning, the protocols of donning and doffing to minimize the probability of becoming a carrier of the virus. The next challenge stands ahead, how to properly disinfect and wash the scrub linens which were removed by following the steps of donning and doffing as recommended. 

Washing and Disinfectant Essentials

There are mainly two types of laundry systems that are functional in this regard. The first one is the healthcare laundry service which is set up by the institution or medical complex and follow the scientific measures and guides to ensure the proper cleansing of the scrub clothing items.

In case the hospitals are not offering the laundry service, the healthcare employees and workers have to do it at home. In this scenario, the personal scrub apparels need to be packed by the workers properly after doffing. It is utterly important that the packing should be airtight, the outer surface of the bag should be sanitized and last but not least sanitize hands again. Similarly, when workers reach home they should take the separate and shortest route to the laundry without touching any surface or interact with the family member.

Scrub Apparel Laundry at Home

Health care workers and employee who have to wash and disinfect their scrubs uniforms at home must follow the recommendations as it is about your own safety and the safety of your loved ones.

  1. Do Not Mix the scrub uniform with the rest of the laundry and always wash it separately.
  2. Use strong detergent preferably bleach based and by the instruction of the manufacturer’s label
  3. The oxygen and chlorine-based bleaching products are said to be equally effective in a process of washing to inactivate the virus.
  4. Use the hottest water temperature setting by the manufacturer’s label instruction
  5. Take out the scrubs clothing and put it in a dryer without staking it on other surfaces. Use the warmest cycle recommended for the drying process.
  6. As you finish washing and drying your scrub apparel, disinfect and clean the appliance from the inside out to ensure complete sanitisation.
  7. Use an alcohol-based sanitiser to clean your hands after washing. 

You survive to save

A health care worker must know the importance and function of scrub suits and the above-mentioned recommendations to follow for the safety of their own life and others. It is high time that you must adopt the new ways and norms of safety health care procedures and guidelines, particularly in this outrageous pandemic.

It is a big responsibility and an act of bravery that the medical workers, nurses and staff is showing in a tough time of COVID-19 with absolute resilience and hard work. Scrub apparel is literally their only shield of safety and personal protective equipment clothing which need to be put as a priority by the health care owners and employers. Also, that requires an understanding from the decision-makers and procurement departments of the health care sector that the Scrub/Uniforms/PPE requirement guidelines must be followed as given in the regulatory document for health and safety.

Also Read: Personal Protective Equipment: How to Choose the Quality PPE in 2021

Image Source: Shutterstock