Antibiotic Neckties Are Latest Healthcare Fashion Trend

We caught a story about antibiotic neckties in the Miami Herald, but it appeared in other publications all over the country. The story told us that SafeSmart has created a product line of antibiotic neckties. The company may be capitalizing on the frustrations of doctors who have microbiologists and infection control staff swabbing their clothing to make a point about how infections can be transmitted by ties and other clothing articles.

Safesmart is marketing a line of 24 necktie designs processed with an anti-microbial coating, under the banner of SafetyTies. These ties form a Teflon-like resistance to germs that normally nest in fabric fibers.

The germs carried in doctors’ neckties came into the spotlight in 2004 when researchers presented a study measuring the amount of germs found on physicians’ neckties at an American Society for Microbiology conference. The study, presented by Steve Nurkin of the New York Hospital Medical Center in Queens, found that 47.6 percent of the neckties worn by clinicians harbored well-known hospital-acquired bacteria. This was not particularly surprising, considering neckties seldom get dry cleaned according to Jay Calleja, director of communications for the International Fabricare Institute, a trade association for dry cleaners.

It remains to be seen whether or not the antibiotic necktie will work as advertised in a hospital or doctor’s office setting. For labortorians and doctors alike, these neckties could be an inexpensive way to advertise that they are doing their part to keep their facility clean. If the neckties work, they may prevent embarrassing accusations of spreading germs around when clothing swabbing is performed around the hospital.

April Strider, president and CEO of SafeSmart, said business had gotten off to a slow start, which is probably frustrating considering an investment of $55,000 in research and development for 5,000 ties produced. At $25 to $40 retail, the ties are not appreciably more expensive than your average necktie. We noticed that SafeSmart is having a Spring sale – 25% off – so you might want to pick one up for the sheer novelty of it!

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