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24 Jun

What is the "Bare Below the Elbows" initiative?

Short Sleeve Lab Coats by Fashion Seal Healthcare®

In meeting with one of my laundry customers the other day, a hot topic was brought up in regards to a recent push from the Health Department to hospitals around the country - “Bare Below the Elbows”. The goal of the initiative is to improve the effectiveness of hand hygiene by healthcare providers. There are many guides to the “Bare Below the Elbows” initiative, but the one that stood out to me the most is long sleeve clothing should be rolled up above the elbow so as not to interfere with effective hand hygiene practices.

While this initiative is still in the developmental stages of being promoted as a formal policy, World Health Organization (WHO) is recommending that long sleeves be avoided altogether. The reasoning behind this is research shows that a large portion of long sleeves on health care workers are contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus, which simply put is a staph infection. The fact that lab coats are generally washed less frequently as other healthcare garments also increases the chance for this to be passed on.

While out in the field, I have brought up the “Bare Below the Elbows” initiative to many of my customers and the overwhelming majority of them have not heard of this initiative.  Whether this becomes a mandated policy in every healthcare facility remains to be seen, but the discussion of potential solutions needs to start now so you’re not caught scrambling at the last second for options.  A potential solution would be changing from a long sleeve lab coat to a short sleeve lab coat to assist in decreasing the spread of infections.

Want to learn more about solutions for the "Bare Below the Elbows" initiative?  Contact Michael Walker at

Michael Walker, Territory Sales Manager for Fashion Seal Healthcare

Michael Walker is a Territory Sales Manager at Fashion Seal Healthcare® and has been with the company since 2012.  He has more than seven years of experience in the textile industry and was previously a District Manager for Aramark Uniforms.  During Michael’s career, he has partnered with many hospitals, laundries and long term care facilities to develop uniform programs that speak to the mission statement of each facility.

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