Study finds doctor's lab coats harbor lots of germs

Lab coats hang outside the operating room at Washington Hospital Center on Friday, April 16, 2010 in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

January 21, 2014 5:58:44 PM PST
Do you know what's on your doctor's lab coat or your nurse's sleeve? You might not want to know.

Recent studies have found all sorts of nasty germs on the clothing of doctors, nurses, and other health workers.

Now, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology has issued new guidelines that include wearing shorts sleeves, taking off rings and watches, and skipping neckties or keeping them tucked under lab coats (since up to 70 percent of doctors admit to never cleaning them).

They also include washing lab coats in hot water and bleach at least once a week, and disinfecting lanyards, ID tags, cellphones, and pagers.