Recently we have expanded our online store to include stethoscopes made by Uniform Advantage and Littmann, and so we thought it would be helpful to share some tips on how to care for and clean your stethoscope. Regular cleanings are important for the safety of you and your patients, as an unclean stethoscope has the potential to be a vector of infection. This is especially true if you are an EMS worker.
A recent study suggests that one in three stethoscopes used by emergency workers is contaminated with MSRA, a potentially fatal bacterial infection. It might sound scary, but the spread of bacteria can be easily prevented by cleaning your stethoscope at least once a week. Here are some useful tips on how to clean your UA or Littmann stethoscope.
- First remove the ear tips, as this will allow you to clean your stethoscope thoroughly.
- Wipe the entire surface of the diaphragm and bell with a 70% isopropyl alcohol solution; this can reduce the bacterial count up to 94%.
- The tubing can be cleaned by using a cloth moistened with a mild soap solution, followed by drying and swabbing with 70% isopropyl alcohol.
- To prevent the tubing from cracking and drying, clean the tubing monthly with a vinyl protectant such as Armor-All.
- NEVER immerse your stethoscope in any kind of liquid or subject it to any sterilization process or else it will be ruined.
- Keep your stethoscope away from extreme heat, cold, solvents and oils.
- You may be tempted to cover the surface of the bell and/or diaphragm to keep it clean; however you should never do this as it can change the frequency characteristics of the stethoscope, resulting in an incorrect or incomplete diagnosis of your patient.
Hopefully you will find this information useful in the care and cleaning of your stethoscope. If you don’t own one, please visit our website for a variety of stethoscopes made by Littmann and UA. Shop with confidence at UniformAdvantage.com!