Doctor's white coats: could they become a thing of the past?

Don't be surprised if your doctor has a more casual look next time you're in the office, with short sleeves and no tie.

Those are new recommendations from the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. Since the 70's, studies have shown that the stethoscope a doctor wears around the neck can collect bugs, and should be wiped clean between patients.

Now, since doctors may see a lot of patients while wearing the same white coat all day, the society is recommending a couple of changes to reduce possible contamination.

It suggests short sleeves, no watches or jewelry, and no ties when seeing patients. And if they're in a place where white coats are required, the society says they should be changed frequently and laundered in hot water daily.

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