Hospitals should encourage physicians to use a certain dress code to reduce the risk of spreading hospital-acquired infections, according to Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) expert guidance recently published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

According to the guidance, health care personnel attire “should attempt to balance professional appearance, comfort, and practicality with the potential role of apparel in the cross-transmission of pathogens.”

Although the authors acknowledge that a link between attire and infections has not been established, they recommend that physicians still take precautions.

Specifically, they suggest that physicians wear short sleeves, no wristwatch, no jewelry, and no ties during clinical practice, as well as use closed-toe shoes with low heels and nonskid soles. They also note that white coats worn during patient care should be washed at least one weekly with hot water and bleach.