How poisonous are hospital elevator buttons

How do you press the elevator in the hospital?

With the key? Any substitute you can find on your hands? With your elbows? Or do you press with your fingers as usual?

Some people may say that you are melodramatic, but such melodramatic feelings do make sense. How poisonous are hospital elevators? Let’s look at a research report published in Open Medicine.

This study mainly investigated the elevator buttons of three large municipal hospitals in Canada, and found that many colonized bacteria on the buttons are a variety of microorganisms symbiotic on the surface of human skin.

According to the study, The sources of hospital acquired infection are diversified, and the transmission routes that can be involved include doctors’ white coats, computer keyboards, mobile phones, stethoscopes, adhesive tapes, ultrasonic probes and X-ray equipment, etc. The elevator room in the hospital is one of the areas with the largest number of people in the hospital, thus making the elevator button in the hospital indirectly become the medium of potential bacteria transmission among different groups.

Researchers began their study. Starting from November 5, 2012, 120 elevator buttons and 96 cotton swabs on toilet surfaces were collected at three large level III hospitals in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, at different times of the week on weekdays and weekends.

During the sampling, the researchers selected two buttons inside the elevator room, one on the first floor and the other on the upper floor. In addition, the researchers also selected two buttons outside the elevator room, namely the [up] button on the first floor and the [down] button on an upper floor.

From March 17 to 27, 2013, researchers took samples from men’s toilets near elevators. Samples were taken from the inner/outer door handles at the toilet entrance, the door locks of toilet compartments, and the surfaces of flush toilet buttons.

Blind design is used to identify samples, and technicians carry out indiscriminate identification operations on cotton swab samples. Gram staining does not include Clostridium difficile, respiratory virus or gastroenterovirus.

The results showed that the elevator button surface had a higher bacterial colonization rate (61% vs 43%) than the toilet surface. There was no significant statistical difference in bacterial colonization at different sampling positions of elevator buttons, different sampling periods per week, first floor and upper floor.

The bacteria with the highest sampling and culture rate of elevator buttons are coagulase negative staphylococcus, followed by streptococcus. Enterococcus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa are rarely found. No Staphylococcus aureus, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus were isolated.

The bacteria isolated from toilet surface sampling culture are mostly coagulase negative staphylococcus, and the bacterial colonization rate in different toilet sampling sites is roughly the same.

The limitations of this study are as follows: the sampling source is limited to a single region, which limits the universality of the research conclusion; Most samples are collected in the morning, which may deviate the research results due to different cleaning times. In addition, the results of the study may also be offset by the sampling time of elevators and toilets in different seasons, because the incidence rate of nosocomial infection may vary in one year.

However, studies have found that most of the colonized bacteria isolated have low pathogenicity.

According to the researchers, The study concluded that the pattern of bacterial colonization found is [reassuring], which may be due to good cleaning measures and hand hygiene in several hospitals. They also stressed that the bacterial colonization rate found on elevator buttons in hospitals is much lower than that on computer keyboards and ultrasound probes found in different studies in the past.

In addition, as there is indeed a potential risk of pathogen transmission on hospital elevator buttons, researchers have put forward several suggestions to reduce the risk, such as installing disinfectant inside and outside elevator rooms, installing non-contact sensing buttons, expanding the area of buttons to facilitate elbow touch keys or educating elevator users on the importance of hand cleaning.

Finally, the researchers stressed that constant risk awareness may prompt people to pay more attention to the whole hospital.

Although the final conclusion is that although there are many bacteria, the pathogenicity is not high, but most hospitals in China do the same research, perhaps they are not so optimistic. When you go to the hospital, please try to avoid using elevator buttons and wash your hands as much as possible to avoid infection.