25 May 2004

Our Ties Might Just Kill You

By this time, I guess you already know that physicians' neckties are harboring harmful bacteria. I have long suspected that. I'm wondering how long before studies document that our hankies, shirts, pants and shoes are equally contaminated. Those of nurses', too.

The study, done in a Queens hospital in New York, found that almost half the ties worn by doctors carried harmful bacteria. This finding was in stark contrast to the ties of security guards, who had less contact with patients, in which only 1 of 10 ties harbored pathogens.

It can't be helped, you know. Busy doctors usually do their hospital rounds first before seeing patients in their clinics. Hospitals are one of the dirtiest places in the planet. Moreover, the microorganisms you find in hospitals are mostly antibiotic-resistant, making them doubly lethal. Steven Nurkin, lead author of the study that exposed our bacteria-laden ties, suggested using "nectie condoms" (are these available?) and using a "high quality detergent spray" to decontaminate the ties.

So, next time you visit your doctor in his clinic, beware if he wears a tie. Ask where he has been before he saw you.

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