Thousands of healthcare workers around the world are only permitted to wear a simple wedding band to work. Policies citing early laboratory evidence that rings can carry clinically relevant bacteria, but with scant clinical evidence to back them up, gave rise to this. It is crucial to regularly review the evidence supporting infection control guidelines because invasive policies and the perception that they lack evidence make them less credible.
What Healthcare Workers Need to Know About Silicone Rings and Bacteria
If you’re like many healthcare professionals out there, you’re constantly looking for better ways to care for your patients and very aware of the things you do that could harm them. Healthcare workers should know if their rings harbor bacteria. It is a common query regarding silicone and metal wedding bands, both of which are becoming more and more popular among healthcare professionals.
It’s critical to know whether your jewelry is secure or needs to be removed while you’re working as a front-line healthcare provider, whether you’re a nurse, doctor, or other healthcare professional.
Studies on Ring Safety
There has long been a disagreement over whether wearing rings while providing patient care is safe. For various patient safety reasons (such as in a NICU or during surgery), some hospitals or care facilities have policies against wearing rings, but the majority allow you to do so as long as you can keep it clean.
According to a 2013 study in Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control, there is no proof that wearing a wedding ring increases the risk of hospital-acquired infections (HAI) or the spread of bacteria.
Silicone and Medical Care Silicone is a material that works incredibly well for all kinds of medical equipment, which is why it is so popular in the medical industry. You can get the same caliber materials that are accepted for a range of medical and healthcare applications by selecting a silicone ring made with medical-grade silicone.
Although silicone is generally a safe material, it is important to remember that certain organisms can colonize its surface. If your ring also contains other elements that could harbor bacteria, such as blood or dirt, the risk of bacterial colonization rises.
Keeping your silicone rings clean aside from the potential health risks posed by bacteria, many professional prefer silicone as their wedding bands for healthcare workers because they are more comfortable to wear all day long, fit under gloves without getting damaged, and are simple and inexpensive to replace if they get damaged.
Even though there isn’t any concrete proof that these rings can harbor bacteria, it’s crucial to maintain your silicone wedding ring’s cleanliness. After every shift, you can wash it with soap and warm water. If something gets on it that won’t wash off with soap, you can boil it or put it in the dishwasher for a deeper clean.
The risk of infection associated with healthcare workers wearing rings has been thoroughly reviewed in the literature. Clinical trial registries, PubMed, and the Cochrane Library were all searched. The rates of hospital-acquired infections (HAI), bacterial transmission, and bacterial contamination of healthcare workers’ hands were taken out of the data.
Ten observational studies and two interventional randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were found. No study looked into a connection between ring use and HAI rates. The RCTs were extremely small, and hand colonization served as the main result.
One RCT found that healthcare workers who were randomized to wear rings had higher levels of hand colonization than those who were not, while the other RCT found no difference. One observational study that evaluated the transmission of bacteria during handshaking discovered that the presence of a ring had no effect on the transmission rate.
Five studies found no difference, while three observational studies discovered increased bacterial contamination on hands with rings. In the majority of studies, higher contamination after handwashing was not associated with the presence of rings. No study found a discernible increase in hand contamination when wearing multiple rings as opposed to one, or when wearing various kinds of rings.
There was no concrete proof that healthcare workers’ ring use increases the risk of bacterial or HAI transmission. Furthermore, it is unclear whether a statistical difference in the number of colony-forming units has any clinically significant implications.
The majority of studies did not find that wearing rings were associated with higher contamination. Reconsidering ring-wearing guidance and concentrating on interventions with a clearer evidence base would benefit guidelines; this would increase healthcare professionals’ willingness to take part in other critical interventions.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if I don’t take off my jewelry before cooking?
Stop what you’re doing if you remember that you forgot to remove your jewelry. Put away any jewelry that has come into contact with food. Clean and sanitize the station where you were working, wash your hands, and don a fresh pair of gloves after putting your jewelry in a secure location.
How can I avoid my jewelry contaminating my food?
To protect you and your clients, adhere to these five rules:
- Keep your jewelry in a secure location at home.
- If you wear a medical alert bracelet, discuss a suitable replacement with your manager so that both you and your clients will remain safe.
- Wash your hands after that, and switch out your gloves frequently.
- Even when wearing gloves, keep in mind that jewelry is not appropriate.
- Follow the dress code established by your place of employment.
What about wedding rings for nurses?
While wearing it while working as a nurse could cause you a long list of issues, you should probably remove it.
It’s a great way to express your love and appreciation for your loved one.
In most cases, your supervisor won’t care whether you’re permitted to do it or not.