Stethoscopes come in many varieties and have been around since the early 19th century. Even the initial models had to be taken care of properly, and that rule is even more critical for the modern ones, thanks to the complicated design used to manufacture them.
In this article, you will learn how to store stethoscopes properly. Also, we will give you a few other pieces of advice that will help you ensure that your stethoscope stays functional and don't get damaged over long periods of time.
How to Store Stethoscopes Correctly?
Luckily, storing your stethoscope isn't something complicated, and you won't have to buy an overly-expensive box or a similar type of container. Generally, you should make sure you don't put it in a place that is too hot or too cold, as the temperature can mess up the bell and the diaphragm quality. Also, avoid areas that are wet, as moisture is known to impact even the simplest of devices negatively.
Other Maintenance Advice
As noted above, storing the stethoscope is simple, but there are other things to consider if you wish to keep it completely functional. Not damaging the tubing, carefully carrying the stethoscope around, and cleaning it properly are all equally important.
Taking Care of the Tubing
Stethoscope tubes can be made out of different materials, but the most popular choice is the polyvinyl chloride, more commonly known as PVC. Since stethoscopes have become such modern instruments, the PVC was standardized as the best possible material used to manufacture the tubing. However, it has some downsides that require those who use stethoscopes to handle them more carefully.
First of all, the polyvinyl chloride suffers from a chemical reaction when it comes into contact with the skin. The human skin won't suffer any problems, but the material can become harder, making it more prone to getting shattered. Additionally, you shouldn't fold up the tubing too much, as it can get damaged even in its normal elastic state.
These things are possible even when owning the most expensive stethoscope models, but are even more of a threat with the more affordable ones. For that reason, you should always handle the tubing carefully, as it's tough to replace or fix.
Cleaning a Stethoscope
Regularly cleaning your stethoscope is recommended mainly because of hygiene purposes since its function can't really be affected by dust or dirt. Despite that, cleanliness is still essential when working with patients or at home, so don't take this lightly.
Everything except the ear tips of the stethoscope can be cleaned by wiping it using an alcohol solution. It's vital though to use only a small amount of liquid when doing this, as too much can actually damage the ear tubes or the chest piece of the device.
Cleaning the ear tips is essential, and even more so if you're sharing the stethoscope with someone else, which is generally not advised. They are made out of rubber or silicone and can also be cleaned using an alcohol solution. The only difference between cleaning them and the rest of the stethoscope is that you are required to drench them in the sterilization liquid thoroughly, and then leave them to dry off for a few hours.
Replacing Stethoscope Parts
If you ever lose or damage a part of your stethoscope, it's possible to replace the missing component or get the device fixed. Whether this is worth doing and it is the least expensive way to do it in the long run, hugely depends on the quality of your device.
Unfortunately, most of the cheapest models probably don't have replacement parts manufactured, as well as an official customer service department where you can send them to get repaired. For this reason, it's generally better to purchase a new stethoscope instead of trying to fix it.
In case your stethoscope is an expensive one, you will be able to find a replacement part online pretty quickly. If it's damaged, you can contact the retailer or the manufacturer and get it fixed. If you still qualify for the warranty, this process will be completely free, so don't hesitate to do it as soon as possible.
If you were wondering how to store stethoscope parts, and what is the best way to keep your medical accessory functioning for a long time, we have given you some pieces of solid advice.
Firstly, make sure not to tear the tubing by having it in contact with the human skin for a long time, or folding it too often. Secondly, maintain the stethoscope by keeping it clean and sterilized at all times. This is done by wiping the base and the parts using an alcoholic solution.
Last but not least, make sure to replace any broken parts or get your stethoscope fixed if it gets damaged.