Google Glass is Saving Lives and Washing Hands in Cold Water as Effective as Hot Water

3 April, 2014 § Leave a comment


Dr. White Coat has a few interesting articles posted in his most recent Medical Update, one of them being a story by national Geographic that states that 

People typically wash their hands seven times a day in the United States, but they do it at a far higher temperature than is necessary to kill germs, a new study says. The energy waste is equivalent to the fuel use of a small country.


This is something I have been saying for a long time, and I stopped washing my hands with hot water on the first day of nursing school when the instructor showed us proper hand washing technique and explained why hot water is not necessary, at least not in hand washing.  Why?  We can not safely or comfortably put our hands in water that has reached a temperature needed to kill bacteria.  As it turns out, it looks like National Geographic agrees

Carrico said, “It’s certainly true that heat kills bacteria, but if you were going to use hot water to kill them it would have to be way too hot for you to tolerate.”

She explained that boiling water, 212°F (99.98°C), is sometimes used to kill germs-for example, to disinfect drinking water that might be contaminated with pathogens. But “hot” water for hand washing is generally within 104°F to 131°F (40°C to 55°C.)  At the high end of that range, heat could kill some pathogens, but the sustained contact that would be required would scald the skin.


You can read the rest of the National Geographic article here.  So, stop wasting so much energy and wash your hands in cool water.  Besides, hot water can chaff and dry your eyes, causing a breakdown in the skin and giving an opening for bacteria to enter the body.  

The other article Dr. White Coat had posted is entitled “Google Glass is Helping Doctor’s Save Lives. Maybe it is Time to Reconsider the Poorly Received Technology” and it has me very interested.  I love technology and I especially love technology when it helps to make healthcare better and could potential save lives or make the patient experience better (not to mention my job easier and allows me to give better care).  This article speaks about ED Doctors using Google Glass, but in the future this would prove beneficial for the entire treatment team.  Here are a few snippets

Clinicians can now speak with the patient, examine them, and perform procedures while simultaneously seeing data from the ED Dashboard in their field of view.


[I]n Indiana, Glass is being used in surgery to aid in the removal of tumors. The doctor is able to look at an MRI of the patient’s tumor at the same time he is removing it, enabling more precise surgery.


Seriously folks, despite the current debacles in our healthcare system, there are some bright spots in medicine and as technology progresses, we hope that medicine will progress with it.

What do you think about the study on hand washing? Will you change your habits?

How about the article about using Google Glass in our practices as healthcare practitioners?  Do you think it is a good idea?  Will it help us or hurt us?  How would you feel as a patient if your provider were using Google Glass? 





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