In what can be a sometimes “germy” line of work, those in the medical profession will soon have a solution for better protection against the germs they encounter on a daily basis.

Antimicrobial scrubs provide a new kind of barrier against bacteria by infusing a chemical into the fabric that prevents contamination.

The fabric can prevent the spread of MRSA, Staph infections, Salmonella and E. Coli, among others.

Gary Hay, owner of Scrubs 101 Uniform Boutique on Ross Clark Circle, said he’s excited to start carrying the product beginning March 2015.

It is technology that has been in the making for five years and will soon be widely available through a company called Cherokee, owned by Strategic Partners, Inc.

“Antimicrobial and antimicrobial with fluid barrier medical apparel are available in the market and have been available for a few years,” said Kay Heitzman, executive director of marketing for Strategic Partners. “The difference is that for the first time a leading manufacturer of scrubs, Strategic Partners, is launching a comprehensive new line for men and women, and a fashion-forward collection for women by Cherokee.”

Heitzman said Strategic Partners will be able to offer the kind of supply and consistency needed by the customer nationally and internationally.

Hay was introduced to the material at a recent convention in South Carolina and feels the new material will be the biggest thing to hit the scrub market.

“The fabric is beautiful,” Hay said. “(Antimicrobial fabric) used to be like a burlap sack. It didn’t wash or wear well. This new material is more comfortable and fashionable.”

Kathy Frazier, at Sandra Jean Uniform Shop, which also serves the Dothan area, said she’s heard about the new product, but has not decided whether the store will carry it yet.

“We haven’t seen what they look like yet,” she said. “We would definitely like to see what the fabric looks and feels like.”

Frazier said a customer often bases his or her decision on what kind of scrubs to buy on the softness of the fabric.

The new line called Code Happy, which is selling the product under the name Certainty and Certainty PLUS, provides its germ-resistant surface by using silver in the fabric.

“Certainty antimicrobial’s polymer-containing silver technology delivers silver ions to fabric surfaces and activates them in the presence of undesirable bacteria,” Heitzman said. “The patented silver technology turns ordinary scrubs into an invisible shield of safety. When unwanted bacteria come into contact with treated fabrics, silver ions are released and the bacteria are eliminated.”

The Certainty PLUS line offers an additional line of defense against spills by adding spill resistant technology into the fibers causing anything liquid that comes into contact with the fabric to bead up and roll off.

Though the scrubs protect against common germs encountered in a medical setting, Heitzman said the scrubs do not protect against diseases such as Ebola.

“Protection against Ebola is very complex and protocols at hospitals are specific in the personal protective equipment that nurses and doctors must wear and how it is disposed of following bedside treatment,” she said.

Hay said one of the major benefits of wearing antimicrobial scrubs is after a health care worker leaves the hospital, many don’t go straight home. They go to the supermarket, pick up a child from school or daycare or run by the bank. By wearing an antimicrobial-impregnated scrub, it greatly reduces the risk of health care professionals carrying any kind of contamination outside after they leave the hospital.

According to a study conducted by Strategic Partners when developing the product, 70 percent of health care workers are concerned about spreading germs via their clothing, however 52 percent reported that they wear their scrubs outside of work.

Heitzman said the product was developed due to the increased interest from customers for antimicrobial products, and in the future, she said Strategic Partners has plans to expand on the products they’ll offer.

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