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Medical Uniforms Get Smarter, Work Harder

Medical uniforms

Doctors are wearing the latest healthcare technology on their sleeves…literally

Modern-day medical uniforms do not stop at functionality; now, they're even 'intelligent.' New textile technology now enables healthcare specialists to work in clothes that don't only smell good, but also promote good heath. Read on to find out how it's done.

Top physicians and surgeons have finally found their match: medical uniforms that work as hard as they do. Thanks to new technology from the University of California, medical uniforms are now starting to be made with special 'germ-free' fabrics that can stay clean for days even without washing. And since these uniform wonders stay virtually clean round the clock, they also help stop the spread of germs.

The new fabrics used in medical uniforms are treated by a patented technology that attaches molecules called 'halamines' to textile fibers. The halamines contain chlorine, which are powerful in killing bacteria. These molecules make medical uniforms perpetually clean, because they stick to the cellulose fibers in cotton, so the bacteria-killing effect is bonded to the material and used again and again. And when the chlorine is used up (after several days or weeks), uniform only needs to be washed in chlorine bleach so that its bacteria-killing power is regenerated.

What's more, the fabrics are safe on both health and environment. Unlike chlorine gas, halamines pose no threat since they do not generate toxic chlorinated carbon atoms, making them very safe for use in medical uniforms.

This new technology is good news to thousands of interns, nurses, and even patients. Intelligent fabrics may just help keep hospitals more sanitary, especially now that spread of hospital infections through medical uniforms and garments is becoming an increasing problem.

Medical uniforms are rich breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses. Germs attach themselves to its fabrics and are transferred from doctor to doctor, from doctor to patient, even from patient to patient. The surgery room is a particularly vulnerable environment. Surgeons have to be extra hygienic - surgery scrubs need to be spotless at all times because germs are spread easier and cause more damage in such sensitive medical scenarios. The same is true for other practitioners and specialists in equally-vulnerable emergency wards, who are always looking for ways to protect their patients and themselves from hospital-acquired microbes. This advancement in medical uniform technology may just be the armor they have long been looking for.

The University of California has given exclusive commercial license to Seattle-based company HaloSource Corporation, who is now developing more and more ways to make the 'super fabric' easier to produce, and therefore cheaper for the end-user.

Will the intelligent fabrics stop at medical uniforms? Not likely, according to HaloSource. Other medical garments are already being made with these materials as well. Scrubs, patient robes, wipes, beddings, towels and other similar items prone to bacteria build-up are now smarter, too. The microbe-resistant fabrics have even found its way into everyday consumer products like diapers and sanitary pads, sportswear, and kitchen fabrics. The key now is to make these smart fabrics more affordable and accessible to a wider market segment. This is likely to happen soon enough, and households will become just as clean as - or even cleaner than - hospitals.

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