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Duct tape can even be used in the fight against infectious disease

Duct tape – is there no end to its usefulness? Apparently not. Now we learn that using duct tape in hospitals could be a tool in the fight against infectious disease. Call it a handyman’s quarantine.

An infection-prevention team at Trinity Medical Center in the Quad Cities along the Illinois and Iowa border, wanted to create safe zones in which healthcare workers could talk to patients with infectious diseases. So they used 3-foot squares of red duct tape to indicate where precisely that zone was located.

As explained in a news release from the Assn. for Professional in Infection Control and Epidemiology:   

“The study revealed that by utilizing this safe zone, their hospitals were able to save time, money in unused gowns and gloves, and that the quality and frequency of communication between healthcare professionals and isolated patients increased.”

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Duct tape, even the snazzy red kind, is significantly cheaper than protective gear, such as gowns and gloves, that workers would normally wear to converse with patients.

The research team presented the results of its study this week at a conference of the association.

But duct tape’s use in the medical setting certainly isn’t limited to squares on the floor.   

The stuff makes a quick-and-dirty adhesive when you can’t find a bandage, reports this Reader’s Digest guide:

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“You’ve gotten a bad scrape. Here’s how to protect it until you get a proper bandage. Fold tissue paper or paper towel to cover the wound and cover this with duct tape. It may not be attractive, but it works in a jam.”

And TheZac.com/ducttape/ offers “101 uses for duct tape (plus or minus 70 or 80)”. Here are just a few of the potential medical applications:

-Attach leg splint to broken leg

-Blister repair

-Prosthetics

Please note: We are not recommending these uses, we’re merely offering food for thought.

But don’t count on duct tape as a remedy for warts. Its use as a wart-removal treatment has been much touted, but in one study involving Dutch schoolchildren, researchers failed to find any significant benefit when compared with a placebo. 

healthkey@tribune.com

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