While caring for patients, nurses and doctors should take care of themselves too. Choosing clothes that will ensure comfort for the entire duration of consultation hours or duty is a good place to start. At the same time, it should protect against pathogens, as work in healthcare entails risks. This raises the question: what criteria should clothing for healthcare professionals meet?
1. Protection against bacteria and viruses
In recent years, the percentage of nosocomial infections in health facilities has been increasing. Fabrics made of natural fibres (such as cotton) spun from many small fibres also contribute to this. The fibres are released into the environment with less friction.
If bacteria, viruses or fungi are caught on these fibres, they can be released into the environment. An example is the change of cotton-type bed linen when the bed environment is contaminated, and the microorganisms are carried to other rooms on the shoes of staff and patients.
Medical clothing fabrics should therefore contain fibres treated with antimicrobial additives based on silver and zinc ions. These prevent the growth of any bacteria and reduce viruses.
2. Material functionality
The material for clothing for healthcare professionals should also meet other parameters in addition to ensuring protection. It should have thermoregulatory properties, thus maintaining the natural body temperature.
Breathability that ensures comfort when wearing is also important. Fibres should remove moisture by capillary action to the other side of the fabric, thus always keeping the skin dry.
The chemical resistance of the fibres, in turn, ensures that clothing does not degrade when in contact with chemicals such as bleach. They should also be resistant to liquid penetration, thus preventing the absorption of stains.
3. Environmental friendliness
The ecological aspect, too, should be taken into account when choosing clothes. That has benefits not only for our planet but also health professionals. Medical clothing is in close contact with the skin.
Textiles should be reusable and, ideally, recyclable.
The production process is also important. Mass-dyed fibres do not need any pesticides or toxic dyes, and a minimum amount of water is used for their production. As a result, the production is environmentally-friendly and wearing clothes made of these fibres does not pose a health risk.
4. Ease of maintenance
Clothes for healthcare professionals require more frequent washing and cleaning, as they are exposed to various pathogens.
Polypropylene fibres can be washed effectively at lower temperatures with a small amount of detergent. Their durability is higher than that of wool or cotton, which is beneficial for frequent washing. It is also not necessary to iron them.
We recommend preferring fibres that have the antimicrobial additive added directly to the mass. The additive does not migrate from the fabric and remains in it and after multiple washing. This means that protection against bacteria and viruses will be ensured even with repeated washing.
PROLEN®SILTEX and PROLEN®BODYFRESH fibres from Chemosvit Fibrochem, used by our subsidiary to sew clothes for healthcare professionals, meet all these properties. Visit Prolen Medical for more information.