FDA warns of germ-laden mattress covers

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The Food and Drug Administration has warned nurses, infection control staff and other caregivers to examine their medical bed mattress covers.

Damaged or worn covers can allow blood and body fluids to penetrate the mattress, causing an infection risk. Mattresses can be alternating pressure, non-powered flotation mattresses, or mattresses that are part of hospital beds.

Even waterproof or water-resistant medical bed mattress covers need to be replaced, as the expected life can vary from the mattress itself, the FDA said. Over the past two years, the FDA has received 458 reports associated with medical bed mattress covers failing to prevent fluids from leaking into the mattress, the administration said.

“Fluid ingress from worn or damaged medical bed mattress covers may be widespread and largely under-recognized by healthcare providers, healthcare facility staff and caregivers,” the FDA said in its advisory.

Staff should routinely inspect the mattress for wet spots by removing the cover and checking the inside surface. They should remove any damaged medical bed mattress and clean and disinfect medical bed mattress covers per manufacturer guidelines.

The FDA encourages healthcare professionals to report problems with medical bed covers to MedWatch.

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