Stethoscopes are one of the most versatile and valuable tools found in healthcare. There are a huge range of stethoscopes designed for a plethora of uses, and as a result they are one of the most common medical instruments used today.
A good stethoscope can last a lifetime with the right care and maintenance, which is a true asset given the importance of these instruments. This guide will look into the steps that you can take to get the most out of your stethoscope for decades to come.
The tubing part of a stethoscope will see a lot of physical use and distress in its lifetime, from being pulled around to hanging vertically for hours at a time. There are a few things that you can do that will increase the longevity of your tubing and keep your stethoscope in working order.
Try to keep the tubing from touching exposed skin for any prolonged periods of time. The plastic that the tubing is made from becomes hardened and cracked if it is in contact with our skin. This means keeping the stethoscope over your clothing and never have it hang around your neck area.
Do not bend or contort the tubing of your stethoscope, as this can cause tearing in the PVC. One of the most common ways that this happens is by stuffing a stethoscope in your pocket, so try to avoid this practice.
Stethoscope Cleaning And Care
The tubing is one of the most fragile parts of your stethoscope, and as a result is most prone to damage. It is always advised to avoid any extreme temperatures or solvents and oils from contacting your tubing, as this can lead to cracks.
For hygiene and general upkeep, it is advised to clean your stethoscope regularly. Warm, soapy water should be enough to keep it clean, just be sure to dry it off thoroughly. Some stethoscopes have removable ear-tips that should also be cleaned with soapy water.
If you need to sterilise your stethoscope, use a 70 % isopropyl alcohol solution. Never submerge your stethoscope in the solution, instead use a sterile cloth to wipe down the instrument.
Be Smart And Your Stethoscope Will Last Years
Following these tips will help you get years out of your stethoscope, which is remarkable considering how often it gets used. With a little maintenance and care you could potentially use the same stethoscope throughout your career.