Pathophysiology Tips
Provided by Barbara Bancroft, RN, MSN, PNP

Infectious Disease

Infectious Disease Tip Of The Day.....
Purchase a new toothbrush after the outbreak of a herpes coldsore... you'll be less likely to re-infect yourself.


Don't assume your office coffee mug is as clean as a whistle, even though you wash and rinse it daily. A food safety specialist at the University of Arizona rounded up 53 cups from office kitchens around the campus. Of the 53 cups, 22 turned out to be coated with significant numbers of coliform bacteria....those that inhibit the colon, and can cause serious infection in an immunocompromised patient.

Looks can be deceiving--even those coffee mugs that look squeaky clean can harbor a pound or two of the coliform critters. As the investigators continued their search they uncovered the common denominator causing the cup contamination--the dreaded office sponge or dishcloth used to clean all of the cups.

Mugs cleaned with communal sponges or dishcloths were commonly contaminated with the bacteria. Of course, running the sponge or dishcloth through the dishwasher or zapping either of them for two minutes in the microwave will kill all of the bacteria. Taking the time to do either one of those bug-bashing activities may present a problem. If time is money, and you have little time, replace the sponge or dishcloth weekly, or clean your mug with a sudsy--and disposable paper towel.

Last updated:  August 17, 1998


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