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Medical clothing: safeguarding health and well-being
Published on June 2009

                                                                                                          Report Summary

Medical clothing plays a major role in human well-being by protecting individuals against infection,
by monitoring physiological signs and by promoting health.
The protective properties of medical clothing are gaining new-found interest among health care
workers and public health officials as a result of the increasing incidence of infections contracted in
hospitals and the sporadic outbreak of deadly viruses among the general public. The most recent
example of such an outbreak is that of the H1N1 virus'popularly known as Mexican swine flu'which
manifested itself in April 2009. Preventing such outbreaks also has a financial dimension, given that
the costs of treating infections and viruses are soaring.
One technology which should help to stem the increase in health care costs is that of clothing with
healing properties. Also wearable textile-based health monitoring systems should save health care
costs by enabling individuals to manage their own health.
In the meantime, new fabric technologies have paved the way for the development of medical clothing
which satisfies a need for comfort as well as protection. Indeed, many garments worn by the medical
profession are now enhanced with comfort and performance features which are more commonly
associated with high-tech sportswear and athletic apparel.




                                                                                                          Table of Content

SUMMARY
INTRODUCTION
MEDICAL PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
Wearers of medical protective clothing
DEVELOPMENT OF MEDICAL PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
THE ROLE OF MEDICAL PROTECTIVE CLOTHING IN THE REDUCTION OR
ELIMINATION OF CONTAMINATION (ASEPSIS)
Potential of medical protective clothing to cause cross-infection
GARMENTS AND ACCESSORIES WORN BY HEALTH CARE WORKERS
Garments worn by health care workers
Accessories worn by health care workers
Sterile gloves
Footwear covers
Independent sleeves
Safety glasses
Surgical masks
Disposable plastic aprons
Scrub hats
ESSENTIAL PROPERTIES OF MEDICAL PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
Barrier protection



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Comfort
Practical design
Durability
Resistance to undesirable effects
Microbial resistance
Lint resistance
Flame resistance
Static resistance
Stain resistance
Wrinkle resistance
Fashionable appearance
Colours used for medical protective clothing
Patterns used for medical protective clothing
FABRICS USED IN MEDICAL PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
Cotton
Bamboo
Polyester
Blends
High performance fabrics
Nonwovens
Spunlace
Polypropylene SMS
Polyethylene
REGULATION AND TESTING OF MEDICAL PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
Regulation of the sale of medical protective clothing
Efficacy testing
INTELLIGENT MEDICAL CLOTHING
Wearable textile-based health monitoring systems
Examples of wearable textile-based health monitoring systems
Textronics: wearable sensors for use in health monitoring
VivoMetrics: LifeShirt
Sensatex: SmartShirt
ConText project: RSI vest
Verhaert Design and Development (VDD) and the University of Brussels: Mamagoose pyjamas
THERAPEUTIC CLOTHING
Examples of therapeutic clothing
Espère Healthcare: DermaSilk
Therapeutic Systems: Deep pressure vest
Telesto Medtech: ERX therapeutic garments
Woolmark Development International (WDI): Sensory Perception Technology (SPT) microcapsules
OUTLOOK
List of tables
Table 1: Appropriate clothing for different levels of risk of infection
Table 2: Survival of micro-organisms on hospital fabrics
Table 3: Efficacy tests for medical protective clothing
List of figures
Figure 1: Laboratory (lab) coat
Figure 2: Scrubs
Figure 3: Surgical gown




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