Healthcare/Cosmetology Parallel

July 10, 2011 | 10:20 AM

No matter how busy you are, or how late you're running, a clean, disinfected salon station is a necessity.

Medical professionals touch, on average, five strangers a day-and are required to wear personal protective equipment or at the very least gloves. Plus, they always ask about the patient's medical history. Yet, as a hair stylist, you may touch up to 15-20 strangers a day, and it's not appropriate to ask about medical history and you don't always wear gloves or protective equipment.

"It is often hard to impress upon cosmetologists the risk that exists when combs, shears and other tools are not properly disinfected- particularly as it pertains to consumers who quite possibly have immune system impairment," says Leslie Roste, a registered nurse and national director of education and market development for Barbicide.

"Since we rarely know who these people are when they sit in our chair, it is important to treat everyone as though they may be immune impaired."

In addition, Roste says, probably the scariest, most lethal and easily transmitted bacteria found in a salon is MRSA-which can cause critical (even fatal) infections in only a few hours. "Proper disinfection could protect clients and cosmetologists from MRSA associated with salon equipment and furnishings," she says.

"There are several cases of clients getting nicked with shears or clippers and being hospitalized within hours for MRSA infection."

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