In operating theatres the air is mainly contaminated with bacteria shed from the human skin. The emission of bacteria can be prevented by wearing clothing of impervious material, while normal cotton clothing does not decrease the shedding of bacteria.
In this study shedding of viable bacteria from 20 test-persons wearing an operating theatre suit, composed of 65% polyester and 35% cotton (Diolen), was investigated in a test-chamber and compared with that when normal clothing was worn. The use of this operating-theatre suit resulted in a significant reduction (50–75%) in the number of bacteria-carrying particles in the air of the test-chamber and in an operating room when everyone present wore this suit. A combination of the suit with knee-high boots showed a further reduction in the dispersal of colony forming units.
The dispersion from female subjects wearing an operating-theatre frock was significantly higher than when wearing an operating-theatre suit.